You may be aware that I am a bit of a Seth Godin fangirl. It takes a great deal of restraint for me to not share nearly every one of his daily blog updates here on my own blog (Twitter is a better vehicle for sharing that sort of thing). Every now and then, though, there is one that is so good that I need to put it up here so that those not yet converted to Godinism read his words of widsom. Like this:
or sleep near a train station.
Don’t ask a cab driver for theater tips.
Never buy bread from the supermarket bakery…
and don’t ask your spouse for honest feedback about how you look.
Don’t do business with a stranger who calls you at home during dinner.
Think twice before you ask your ad agency how many ads you should run.
And never eat the macadamia nuts in the mini bar.
Proximity is not a stand in for expertise.
Think on that last sentence. Equating proximity with expertise is a common stumbling block in many industries. It is rife* in professions where members believe themselves to inherently be Jacks-of-all-trades. Librarians, for example, are extremely prone to this, so are doctors. In these cases, the “proximity” is their professional qualification, and it causes them to look inside their own professional body for people to occupy just about any kind of role necessary.
Going for proximity, regardless what form that proximity takes, is rarely a good strategy.
*Rife, not ubiquitous. There’s a difference.