Experienced vs. inexperienced “advice”

Online tools provide an easy way for people to exchange ideas and opinions. A wealth of knowledge is available to us on the internet. The opportunity is there to learn from other people’s experiences, both personal and professional. Distinguishing authoritative advice from inexperienced opinion is not easy. People are jumping into social media consulting (what is that?) advising businesses without any prior business consulting experience.

No degree.
No experience maintaining or growing a large online community.
No business planning experience.

See what I mean? Maintaining a large online community does not magically give someone business skills. Social skills, yes, but not business skills unless they’ve monetized it but even then the experience is in one niche. Can those experiences necessarily be applied across the board to more traditional businesses? People, with the best intentions, are giving advice but are they qualified to give the advice? Making the distinction between authoritative advice and inexperienced opinion is hard because rarely do people disclaim and say, “I’ve never done this but, I think…”. Assessing both is fine for decision making but to make the best decision one needs to know the difference between someone inexperienced and someone with experience.

On Bill’s site I took part in a discussion about whether a performer’s reputation and past failures (stigma or negativity) would follow the performer. Here is a quote that sums up Bill’s position:

***Disclaimer: Bill is NOT a social media “expert”. We were having a conversation on his site and it makes for a good example. He’s a good friend of mine and ya’ll know the social media experts I’m talking about because I discussed this before.***

The PERSON is going to be “judged” on their own merit. The SHOW is, as well. IF the show was bad because the “on-air talent” isn’t talented, then BOTH the show and the figurehead get blamed and THAT goes along with them to the next show they host. If the PERSON was good in the show, but it failed for other reasons, I don’t believe any stigma’s going to be attached to that performer.

I disagree. If I am trying to integrate video into my company’s offerings (an online show for example) and I need to hire a host for the show, their previous experience is going to come into play the first step.

You see, when people write business resumes their experience is listed chronologically starting with the current position going back to the first position. The entertainment field is different. Their “resume” requires the performer’s best work to be put first. The order is not chronological; the projects are listed in the order of the best project to the worst project. The industry itself dictates a hierarchy on good vs. bad, giving very little wiggle room to be judged by any other merit but success.

Now add on to that I am a business owner looking to make money. At least double or triple my investment. This is business baby, not “let me hold your hand and make excuses for your failed projects” time. I need successes because that proves the performer is “better” than the others. Just like a high-level position “proves” one employee is more experienced than the other. Is this an exact science? Absolutely not but if the resume itself is created to provide the reader with successes first, judgment on merit doesn’t apply. Unless the performer has a look I’m interested in their resume would end up in the “no” stack.

But let’s be nice and say I like someone and their resume is under par but something about them touches me. I call them into an interview and they proceed to tell me why the projects failed. Bad management. Not enough advertising. The reason for the failure wasn’t their fault.

Am I supposed to believe that?
Am I supposed to take the time to research that?
Am I supposed to care?

As one who has booked entertainers for different projects (both personal and for clients) I have been privy to the discussions on whether to pick an unknown over a popular person or picking someone with failures (for whatever reason) over someone with a more established history. If a company picks a person with negative baggage, that past baggage can become the company’s current baggage. That potentially means additional funds might be needed for the project. Why not pick an unknown instead?

You think picking a popular person would be best right? Not necessarily because you see, they have baggage too. If the project fails the failure is “worse” because more people know about the project. Or worse, the performer’s audience might be against them doing other things, especially if the new project takes time from their original gig. This is the age of social media where one person can Twitter, “This sucks! X used to be good until the new show started!”, starting a domino effect of negativity that needs to be dealt with.

We all have to own our actions and we don’t always have the chance to justify our actions. Most times we don’t – decisions are made about us that we have no idea are being made. Judgments about us are being made and we’ll never have the chance to defend ourselves.

And the truth is, the irresponsibility of making sound business decisions is what put our economy in this horrible position. For example, hiring people who are unqualified or worse, people assuming they are qualified because they “think” what they are saying makes sense. How many failed projects – real failures no half-ass explanations and spins – do these social media “experts” have? Let me be blunt – how many times did their advice equal a return on investment (profit)? Are these things being measured?

I strongly suggest, especially in this tough economic time, that you make your decisions wisely. The choices we make now are more important than ever because the competition, in just about every industry, is reaching record numbers. More people are vying for a lesser pool of jobs.

If you notice I still disagree with Bill but I didn’t comment again over there. Next week I’ll explain why….