In Search of Information and Advice, Who Do You Trust?

Man with a questionTalk is Cheap, Wisdom is Priceless

As a technology professional who enjoys teaching and writing, I often search for topics to write about. I search for commonly asked questions, and look for articles that answer the questions. It is sad to find so many articles that contain no valuable information, are very misleading, and do not even answer the questions that are raised in the title.

I read the following comments in an online forum, and I just wish I could find the person making the remark so I could deliver a whack up side their head, "I've never used the product, but what I believe is ..."

In the first half of the sentence they are stating they have no first hand experience in the matter, but in the second half of the sentence they are giving their opinion.

Even having an opinion of something, you can still try to state a case for your opinion based on many personal experiences on the topic. How can you claim to be a technology professional, and give an opinion on something you have no first hand experience?

Quoting someone's blog as a reference to make your case for any argument, with out knowing the blogger, is simply foolish. If you don't believe me get a second opinion from someone else who knows something about being foolish.

Don't Trust an Expert

It drives me crazy when I read a web bio like, "an expert in areas of computer technology" or "an expert in search engine optimization and web promotion" and there are no specifics to support the claim.

If you have published dozens of books on technology, then state that. If you have worked with several Fortune 500 companies on search engine optimization and web promotion, then state that.  Please feel free to state what you have done and state your body of work.

Claiming to be an expert at anything is subjective, prove your value by sharing your experience.

"You must continue to gain expertise, but avoid thinking like an expert." ... Denis Waitley

Who Do You Trust?

Working in many areas of the technology industry for over 30 years, as well teaching for various community colleges in numerous settings, I have many years of material in my head as far as technology tips for small business people, as well as questions commonly asked by students on technology topics.

I believe in karma, and the concept of pay it forward. I have learned many lessons in life, and have many experiences to share. If there is a quick tip or trick on a given topic I can share, I try my best to communicate it.

I recently walked away from a writing opportunity because the company was more interested in my education and writing experience, than they were about my experience in technology.

The best business books I have read were written by entrepreneur's who have started and managed businesses. The best trainers I have had were field engineers who were also good teachers.

Writing is a lot like teaching, you can be a professional writer, or teacher, without being a professional in the field you are writing or teaching. I prefer to read something written by someone who is sharing first hand personal experience, not someone who is just writing for the sake of writing.

Thoughts to Remember

If nothing else I have ever said is ever remembered, I hope the next few sentences are remembered. 

When asking for directions, first ask if the person giving the directions has ever been there themselves. When asking questions, you want an answer based on experience, not speculation.

Talk is cheap, wisdom is priceless.