“I’m not an expert. But you should trust me anyway!”
This is the kind of phrase that you really don’t want to hear from your digital agency or your accountant or your oncologist. You want to feel like you’re in the hands of someone who knows exactly what they’re doing, right? Someone who’s “on the pulse” of I N N O V A T I O N and D I S R U P T I O N and T R E N D S! Right?
Well, these are actually the kind of people you should be avoiding.
Now, bear in mind, I’m mainly referring to the digital marketing and e-commerce industry here, because that’s my current frame of reference, but I can openly say that I am not an expert, and I’m damn proud of that. I felt the same way when I was working in business incubation. Let me tell you why…
Since launching STIR, and then my other e-commerce ventures, I’ve been called on to talk at numerous conferences and events. When I am introduced, I am often referred to as an “expert”, a “guru”, a “ninja”, a “pro”, a “specialist”… And, while I know these monikers come from a good place (and I’m flattered because of the intention) I’m super uncomfortable with these titles.
In my view, labelling oneself as an expert is nothing but marketing hype and self-promotion. If you consider yourself an expert, you personally feel as if you have peaked, that you have reached a point where you know it all. The harsh reality is that you will never ever know it all. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a marketer, a tax accountant, or a doctor. Can you imagine a cardiologist getting to a point where they’re all, “Yeah, sweet, okes. Nailed it. Expert level reached. I’m done. Nothing more to learn here.”? *drops mic*
An expert becomes complacent. An expert becomes comfortable. An expert stops learning and stops growing, because what else do you need to do once you know it all? For me, the place I feel least comfortable is in a comfort zone.
Case in point, STIR is a completely different agency now to what it used to be. In six short years, we have grown from a small consultancy to a fully-fledged agency that provides digital solutions to clients in a multitude of industries and across various countries. How can I claim to be a Facebook expert when Facebook in November 2018 is so remarkably different to what Facebook was as recently as March 2018? (Let alone when STIR opened its doors in 2012!)
While the past six years of STIR’s existence have been filled with success and celebrations, they have also been a process of constant learning, of mistakes, and of failures. But every one of those mistakes and failures have simply led to more learnings! I know that my teams and I have enough experience to deliver great work, but I also know that we aren’t experts. And we never will be. And that’s how it should be…