Do you ask questions?

If you read old articles from this blog, you will see that questions or challenges are more common than answers.

Yes, I share some answers- but based on my business experience, or review of written material and news based on experience.

The point is: in our complex world, there are way too many people who hide behind a label: “expert”.

If you read some articles from my GMN2009 series, you will see here and there some questions without answers.

Or small exercises.

In the current series, AGB2009, I expanded on that concept, adding explicitly a publication process that involves three stages.

And, if you are so inclined, challenges you to use your own brain, and maybe come to radically different conclusions.

In a world where most experts are “anointed” experts, by getting titles or being acknowledged experts by authorities or the media with almost no experience on what they are supposed to be expert of, my perception is that the need of generalists increased.

As you will read in a forthcoming AGB2009 article, the issue already produced in the past appalling results, such as the misuse of pseudo-science to justify racial differentiation, and not just by the usual suspects, the Nazi gang and the Stalin/Lysenko odd couple.

Unfortunately, expanding the roster of experts has an interesting side-effect: self-referential acknowledgment.

The most blatant case is the naive use of LinkedIn by most of its members.

LinkedIn members can “recommend” other members.

It becomes a farce when a member recommends another member, who, in turn, recommends the first.

I call it “Mutually Assured Reference” (MAR).

When I meet somebody from my business environment, after the exchange of business cards I go and check their LinkedIn profile.

If they use the MAR approach, or have “500+” contacts, I first work with them, and then maybe add them to LinkedIn.

A Rolodex is not a list of experts- and neither should be your LinkedIn profile.

With experts, it is the same. Experts are experts often because other self-proclaimed, but well-connected experts say so.

Interestingly, it looks increasingly like “UFOlogists”, who keep inviting each other as “experts”.

As if being accepted as an expert as a fellow expert were to remove the need to do anything that proves the expertise.

I think that BSE, the “casus belli” for the latest War in Iraq, and plenty of other cases of “expert-driven scares” should motivate more people to ask questions about the (unsolicited) answers that they receive.

Otherwise, a citizen is nothing more than a passive consumer, spoon-fed the “truth of the day”.


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