Monday, September 13, 2010

Myths of preparation and expertise

Today Seth Godin blogged about the Myth of Preparation. He had a prettier graphic than the one shown above. On mine I have labeled three stages of preparation for a craft of trade: apprentice, journeyman, and master. They will result in quality that might be terrible, mediocre, or great. That is not what Seth calls the three stages though. He instead says:

"There are three stages of preparation. (For a speech, a product, an interview, a sporting event...)

The first I'll call the beginner stage. This is where you make huge progress as a result of incremental effort.

The second is the novice stage. This is the stage in which incremental effort leads to not so much visible increase in quality.

And the third is the expert stage. Here's where races are won, conversations are started and sales are made. A huge amount of effort, off limits to most people, earns you just a tiny bit of quality. But it's enough to get through the Dip and be seen as the obvious winner."

When I read his words I was puzzled. Why didn’t he take a minute to check a dictionary and find out that novice is a synonym for beginner? His word use today was not expert at all!

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