Jack of all trades, master of none
Having finished recently Jonah Lehrer’s book How We Decide, it became clear that too much information often causes you start having decision paralysis. That insight also combined nicely with one my favorite idiomatic quotes:
Jack of all trades, master of none,
though ofttimes better than master of one.
Having worked in marketing and programming, project management and motion design, this may even seem a personal counter sense. In fact, trying to pretend you do or know a lot of things on several disciplines induces mediocrity, by not excelling in any of them.
Relax, my cat wasn’t harmed for the photo shoot
The same reasoning applied last Monday while commenting about “who owns social media“, as i stated that only users own social media. Not PR agencies, not ad agencies, not SEO experts. Everyone and his
dog cat is trying to get a piece of the cake, even if we’re all clueless about it. We’re all learning as we go.
So stop pretending your agency knows all about social media when they just don’t have the skills or human talent. If you try to be jack-of-all-trades, you risk being regarded as master of none. Be a PR agency. Or a Design Studio. And work with the best partners to provide the best social media strategy.
As for the so called Social Media Experts that are becoming more usual nowadays, beware. Ask what they did for the community, what social web tools do they use besides Facebook or Twitter, demand for examples.
This is not the end of it, yet. Just this morning, as i was thinking about these subjects and the way they relate to my professional experience, i tweeted:
Don’t get offended by the mention of parasites. It’s actually an evidence in nature, stated by the the much wiser author Kevin Kelly on his latest post “Increasing Specialization”, on what was a personal closure on this specialization subject. It’s something that works for nature and i believe it should apply not only for professionals but also for organizations.
We can’t all be a Renaissance Man. We can’t all be as good writer as we are engineers. We can’t all be companies that are both creative and perform six-sigma. You’ll only make a fool of yourself when facing someone who actually knows about the subject.
Digital Marketing will have a hard time being respected if every 15 year old kid proclaims himself as a Social Media Expert. Or worse, if companies actually hire them because they don’t respect the discipline enough or just can’t find the talent to work on it. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all be interested about it:
Be absurdly great at one thing. Be curious on all things.