Should We Blindly Follow the Experts?

Last Update: October 06, 2018

I haven’t read Nassim Taleb’s higly-acclaimed book “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Improbable” but this has been among my must-read list and one that I have ordered today from Amazon. The decision to buy the book was hastened after I read an article the other day where this book was again mentioned. Interestingly, the article was not a review on the book itself but was rather an exposition on why it’s not wise to follow experts blindly in the online business world. The author, it seems, was prompted to write the article after he read the book. I’m not going to copy-paste the article but would give a gist of it only.

The author reiterates Taleb’s way of looking at the professional world which is broadly divided into two types – techne and episteme. The techne professionals are doctors, engineers, accountants, technicians, etc. who rely on knowledge that can be learned by the book in a step-by-step fashion. The knowledge is almost positive in nature.

Episteme professionals, on the other hand, are people like investors, writers, artists, musicians, actors and online marketers who rely on an elusive “knowledge”.

The difference in the knowledge acquisition of the two explains why we cannot reproduce episteme geniuses.

It seems, as is evident from the article, Taleb goes further to say that techne people work in the “Mediocristan” evironment where each profession has a mediocre effect on the whole professional community. It is like an accountant having a negligible effect on the accountant community. On the other hand, epistemes work in what is being described as an “Extremistan” environment. Here, a professional has a profound effect on the whole community. Think of a small-time blogger and a figure like Neil Patel and how the latter affects the former.

There’s a problem when we begin to look at the online business as a techne profession. This thinking, it is said, leads to people following online marketing gurus blindly on the assumption that replicating their strategies would bring them success. Of course, there’s nothing wrong in following experts but this should not make us believe that we could recreate their success by following the same strategies.

Well, I wish I could write longer but I’m yet to read Taleb’s book. All I can say is, success in the online business is about making your own mark. It’s not about copying successful people’s strategies. No two person's journey into the affiliate marketing world are the same. They are all unique.

By not reading experts' advice, are we not going to be overwhelmed with the glut of online marketing information available everywhere? Perhaps we will be. But these experts are not equipped than us to make to take OUR decisions. Instead of blindly following their advice, we'd better bring out our skeptic selves and be bold enough to take the final decision ourself.

P.S.: This post was not meant to discourage people from reading experts' advice. Rather, it was meant to encourage people to inculcate a questioning mind.

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bigrog44 Premium
Thanks for sharing.
Laurel0887 Premium
It's definitely true, at least in my mind, that you should never follow ANYBODY blindly and that everyone's definition of an "expert" is different and if they're good or bad, false or true "profits". Being Skeptical is a good place to be........
Episteme professionals also include great salespeople ( which I feel I am - you should see my commission checks!), who are very seldom mediocre (I have to be sleeping for that), and jump off the cliff with both feet, without looking! After the first time it not only becomes second nature but an "educated" move!
Thanks for bringing that book/author to my attention. I'm an avid reader - sometimes 1/day, mostly 1 every other day- that goes on my wish book list..........

sukumarth Premium
Best wishes, Laurel! Online business is all about finding your moorings in the vast Internet space. Keep your basics covered and work out a strategy that fits in your scheme of things.
Fleeky Premium
Make your own mark...
Best advice indeed!
sukumarth Premium
Yes, find your own strategies that work best for you. Do not try to incorporate other people's strategies simply because they work for them. Cheers, Fleeky!
janetkirkpa Premium
We mistakenly think truth can be found by following the expert. The truth ends up ever changing, a journey not a destination, difficult to "find" but part of processes of discovery.
I am at the beginning of affiliate marketing humbled but not bowed.
Each morning I rise resurgent.
GlenPalo Premium
Great post! The answer is NO; do not follow an expert blindly. Each of us comes to this marketing business with a different set of skills, life experiences, and motivation. This is impossible to duplicate. And often stated by financial experts, past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

In other words, "play" to your strengths, not someone else's.
sukumarth Premium
Exactly! And most of the posts on strategies by these experts are written with the benefit of hindsight. Thanks for dropping by.