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A time I felt embarassed and the lesson I learned on domain of expertise

A year and a half ago I was invited to sit at a workshop and be a guest expert at a conference. The event was Hardware Con, and because I had just been invited briefly before, and have never been a “guest expert”, I had no idea what to expect. So, because I had no idea what to expect, I didn’t think much of it until I got there. While sitting in the room 5 minutes before our workshop session started a small feeling of anxiety began to creep into me.

Thoughts popped up like: What kind of answers would I give that would even be helpful to these guys? Am I gonna tell them what camera to buy or what the difference between a grip and a gaffer? Would it benefit them for me to give feedback on the videos they’ve made?

Nothing out of the ordinary happened. They didn’t ask me questions that we’re related purely to the technical aspects of video production as I had initially worried about, but instead asked me to give feedback on some video ideas or to give feedback on their video strategy. This is all good and logical enough, but for some reason I felt like the advice I could in this domain wasn’t enough and wanted to give higher level advice, so I asked them about their overall marketing and what their funnel looked like. This was 2014, mind you, and internet marketing was still somewhat an obscure thing to learn, and because I was so interested in it at the time (still am) I felt like there was a lot I could give input on.

As so, when I transitioned the conversation to talking about internet marketing, things started to go south. People started getting uninterested and confused. One person even felt provoked by his skepticism and and asked, “Wait, what expert are you a field of again?"

“Video production"

Being Wrong on the Humanist Shore

On XXploring the humanist shore

As absurd as it sounds when we stop to think about it, our steady state seems to be one of assuming that we are very close to omniscient. - Kathryn Schulz

Several years ago I happened on Kathryn Schulz's delightful TED talk about being, well... wrong. I was immediately struck by the importance of her ideas for anyone who cared deeply about the truth. (For those of you who, like me, love books more than videos, I can also recommend the book she is discussing in the TED talk, pictured above.)

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