Who made you an expert?

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. When someone says ‘science teaches such and such’, he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach it; experience teaches it.”

– Richard Feynman

I reference Bob Hoffman a lot as he has had a profound influence on me. Part of this influence has been his opinion on the word, expert, as well as the introductions he has made to me of other like-minded contrarians, whom I’ve grown to admire. One such contrarian is Physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Richard Feynman. Perhaps my favorite quote from Feynman is when discussing how history should influence the future, he said, “pass on the accumulated wisdom, plus the wisdom that it might not be wisdom[efn_note][/efn_note].”

Marketers today are guided by acronyms, personal opinion, and the latest and greatest tools. They look at automation as a means to do less work, instead of an opportunity to do more. They earn blue checkmarks on Twitter by self-proclaiming that they are an expert in an area, without anyone ever validating if they actually are. They attempt to defend their arguments based on their own data (which was built upon a flawed or often, non-existent strategy). But none of these, on their own, can qualify someone as an expert.

Simply stated, you can memorize the heck out of a recipe but this doesn’t mean you know butter burns. To me, for someone to qualify as an expert, they must have an unyielding dedication to the scientific method, which, in turn, means they are able to see when experiences and study must guide changes to their accumulated wisdom.

Daniel Kahneman (another Nobel Prize winner that I learned about from Hoffman) famously stated – “people don’t believe facts…they believe experts.” This is a sad truth. Too many young marketers today are being poisoned in school, internships, and first jobs by ‘modern’ marketers who they look up to as experts. I can only hope that these newbies maintain an amount of commonsense that waived bye-bye to these acronym-loving, veterans.