A bit on expertise

The need to know — to present as an expert — is really driving me crazy. It’s something that is central to the LinkedIn platform, but it’s also seen in just about every other corner of life. We are expected to show up to work knowing. We are certainly asked to come into interviews with an aura of deep expertise. As if we could tell you the future1.

I’ve done some stuff.

Some of it’s good. Some less good. Maybe even a couple of things that were bad.”

All of the stuff, one might say, leaves me with an expertise of sorts. But I’m not so sure. THe more I’ve learned, the more I see I don’t know. That is a space I feel interested in cultivating.

After all, we can’t get there from here. Knowing is the here.

We can’t make change using the tools we know.

We need to do new things. What are they?

Say it with me: I don’t know.

Let’s try something new. Let’s not organize a conference that literally looks like all of the other conferences. Especially if we are gathering people who expressly want to make change.

Let’s not apply strategies we’ve used in other areas to the thing we are currently doing.

Let’s get into rooms and get messy. TRy new things. Be willing to fall down. To collapse inot the question: Who do we need to be?

We can get there together, but only if we’re willing to release what we think we know and develop a new expertise: not knowing2.


  1. Hell, fortune telling is often an interview question, isn’t it? Where do you want to be in 5 years? Really?

  2. Look, I get it. I’m sitting here, looking at the things I literally just wrote, and thinking, Geez. It sure sounds like a knowing to me.” It definitely feels a bit hypocritical. Not quite sure what to do with that, other than to acknowledge that I’m feeling it, and guessing that you’re feeling it too. Happy to talk about it. Especially over a tumeric latte. I’ve grown to really like those.

April 28, 2019


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