Almost Timely News: The Buyer’s Guide to Expertise (2023-02-19) :: View in Browser
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What’s On My Mind: The Buyer’s Guide to Expertise
This past week, a colleague on LinkedIn messaged me about an upcoming conference where someone who, in their perspective, was clearly unqualified to be giving a talk about AI was slated to present at an upcoming conference about AI – ChatGPT, specifically. This colleague’s rather pointed question was whether this bothered me or not (they referenced that a lot of crypto bros on LinkedIn were suddenly AI experts), and more generally, how could they know the difference between experts and people just hopping on the trend?
So today, let’s go through a buyer’s guide to expertise. How do you know who’s a real expert and who isn’t?
First, I think it’s important to draw a distinction – as Google does, in its Search Quality Rating Guidelines – between experience and expertise. Experience is something everyone can have, and whether or not we agree with someone’s experience, as long as they’re not outright lying about it, one person’s experience is equal to another’s. If I have a dinner at a restaurant and I love it, and you have dinner at the same restaurant – perhaps even at the same time as me – and you hate it, is either of our experiences invalid? No. We have had different experiences, but each is a valid point of view.
Now, here’s where we transition from experience to expertise. Suppose I am a Michelin-starred chef and you are not. Perhaps we’re at a sushi bar and I notice that the wasabi is actual, fresh wasabi. You, being someone who is not a trained sushi chef, might not know the difference between real, fresh wasabi and regular wasabi. As an aside, in America, 99.9% of wasabi is just colored horseradish. Real, fresh wasabi is sweeter, more pungent, and highly volatile. Once it’s been ground, it loses its potency in about an hour, which is why the best sushi restaurants serve you a chunk of the root and a grater and you grate your own right at the table.
Or perhaps we’re at a restaurant where pasta is being served and I, as a chef, can tell they used real truffle oil instead of synthetic truffle oil (real truffle oil, amusingly, doesn’t taste as strong as synthetic). That expertise might give me a different perspective on my experience, but I can also objectively say that this restaurant is a better restaurant than that restaurant because of their technical proficiency.
My technical expertise as a chef is separate from my experience as a diner, and that’s one major difference. Someone can be on stage talking about their experiences with AI, with large language models like ChatGPT, and their experiences are valid. But they may lack the technical expertise to go into great detail about it and ways to use it that align best with the underlying technical details of the model.
For example, a few weeks ago on the Trust Insights livestream, we walked through the underlying algorithms that power Twitter and LinkedIn, and in the process disabused a few myths about how they work. (feel free to use as many hashtags as you want, for example, it makes no difference one way or another) By understanding the way the system works, we can craft advice and counsel that goes beyond experience and into expertise.
Experience is what happened to you. Expertise is knowing why you had those experiences.
A second dimension of real expertise is something I learned from my martial arts teachers, especially Mark Davis and Stephen Hayes. Someone who is a legitimate expert knows the material, obviously. They understand it in a deep way. But what they have that separates them from others is they know what will go wrong before it happens. When you’re learning a martial arts technique, you can copy the rote movements from just about anyone. You can watch videos on YouTube to copy the movements like a robot. What you can’t learn without an expert teacher is all the ways that technique will go wrong, and a true master practitioner, a master teacher, will teach you and train you in all those ways a technique will go wrong so that you’re never surprised when something does go wrong.
For example, in Google Analytics 4, Google supposedly switched to an event-based model as its foundational measurement strategy, and that’s more or less true. If you read the official documentation and all the tutorials out there, you’ll learn about the event model and how events are the most granular measurement, and with events you can measure everything.
However, I can tell you with certainty that there are certain reports your stakeholders will ask you for that you absolutely cannot build in Google Analytics 4 because there are still scoping issues. You can’t use events and the month dimension together because they’re incompatible (you have to use the date dimension instead). You cannot use the datetime dimension with events either, which is really annoying when you’re trying to build a granular attribution model. These are intricate technical gotchas that you only know from both experience and expertise.
In the context of something like ChatGPT, if you understand how large language models work – the attention algorithm – and you understand how embeddings and vectorization and a bunch of other arcane technical details inform those models, then when someone’s ChatGPT prompt doesn’t return what they want it to return, you can diagnose their prompt with efficiency and help them get on the right track very quickly.
This is where expertise and experience diverge significantly. You can have a bunch of experiences with something but still not know why things went badly. You might know what to avoid, but you have no idea what the root cause is, only that there are certain things to do and certain things to avoid. Someone with true expertise can tell you why you had those suboptimal outcomes.
A third dimension of real expertise is your network. You don’t have to know everything, and in reality, you can’t know everything except maybe in a very tiny slice of the subject matter, in a really detailed specialization. But the network of people around you who are also professionals in your area of expertise can probably fill in the blanks. They know who to go to – you – for your specialization, and you know who to go to when you need their specialization. For example, I know a casual amount of information about AI and law. My friend and colleague Ruth Carter is an actual expert in AI law, and they even have a law practice around it.
So when you’re trying to evaluate whether someone’s an expert in something, ask who else knows them as an expert, and what they’re known for. If you see someone, as my colleague did, on stage talking about AI but their entire network knows them for misadventures with Bitcoin, then chances are they don’t have a ton of acknowledged expertise in AI. As my friend Mitch Joel says, it’s not who you know that matters – it’s who knows you.
That’s the buyer’s guide to expertise:
- Deep knowledge of why in addition to what and how based on technical principles
- Knowing what will go wrong in advance
- Being known for your expertise
If you’re unsure of someone, these are the three areas to start digging in to establish or discredit their expertise. Chances are you will dig into any one of these areas and establish very quickly whether someone is an actual expert or not.
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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it
Besides the newly-refreshed Google Analytics 4 course I’m relentlessly promoting (sorry not sorry), I definitely recommend the piece on the value of content marketing in an age of AI.
- You Ask, I Answer: Value of Content Marketing in an AI World?
- You Ask, I Answer: Action Steps After Algorithmic Understanding?
- You Ask, I Answer: Proving Algorithmic Understanding?
- Almost Timely News, February 12, 2023: Avoiding Panic with Focus
- Mind Readings: Build Your Own Event
- Mind Readings: Startups, Brands, Agencies, and Professional Development
- Almost Timely News, February 5, 2023: Reliable Reach
- So What? Search Quality Ratings Guidelines
- Now with Moah Medfid
Skill Up With Classes
These are just a few of the classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.
- ⭐️ Powering Up Your LinkedIn Profile (For Job Hunters) 2023 Edition
- Measurement Strategies for Agencies
- Empower Your Marketing With Private Social Media Communities
- Exploratory Data Analysis: The Missing Ingredient for AI
- How AI is Changing Marketing, 2022 Edition
- How to Prove Social Media ROI
- Proving Social Media ROI
- Paradise by the Analytics Dashboard Light: How to Create Impactful Dashboards and Reports
Get Back to Work
Folks who post jobs in the free Analytics for Marketers Slack community may have those jobs shared here, too. If you’re looking for work, check out these five most recent open positions, and check out the Slack group for the comprehensive list.
- Data Analyst at IKEA
- Lead Experience Design Researcher at Hilton
- Manager Digital Analytics at DHL
- Martech Implementation Manager at Foot Locker
- Personalization And Marketing Measurement, Senior Analyst at Manulife
- Sales Representative at AdvisorConX
- Social Commerce Strategist at Blavity
- Technical Web Analyst at Invia
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What makes this course different? Here’s the thing about LinkedIn. Unlike other social networks, LinkedIn’s engineers regularly publish very technical papers about exactly how LinkedIn works. I read the papers, put all the clues together about the different algorithms that make LinkedIn work, and then create advice based on those technical clues. So I’m a lot more confident in suggestions about what works on LinkedIn because of that firsthand information than other social networks.
If you find it valuable, please share it with anyone who might need help tuning up their LinkedIn efforts for things like job hunting.
What I’m Reading: Your Stuff
Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.
Social Media Marketing
- YouTube Shorts Monetization: How It Compares To TikTok
- TikTok Provides 70,000 New Data Insights to Help Marketers Maximize Their In-App Efforts via Social Media Today
- Instagram channels rolling out now, coming soon to Messenger via BGR
Media and Content
- Natural Language Processing and SEO Content Strategy
- Visual Content for Social Media New Research
- 2023 events outlook: New report reveals shifts in formats, budgets, and need for better tools via Agility PR Solutions
SEO, Google, and Paid Media
- What Is Dwell Time & Why Does It Matter for SEO
- How to Build an SEO Roadmap in 7 Steps (Template Included)
- Seven huge, yet common SEO mistakes to avoid in 2023
Advertisement: Google Analytics 4 for Marketers (UPDATED)
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What makes this different than other training courses?
- You’ll learn how Google Tag Manager and Google Data Studio form the essential companion pieces to Google Analytics 4, and how to use them all together
- You’ll learn how marketers specifically should use Google Analytics 4, including the new Explore Hub with real world applications and use cases
- You’ll learn how to determine if a migration was done correctly, and especially what things are likely to go wrong
- You’ll even learn how to hire (or be hired) for Google Analytics 4 talent specifically, not just general Google Analytics
- And finally, you’ll learn how to rearrange Google Analytics 4’s menus to be a lot more sensible because that bothers everyone
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If you already signed up for this course in the past, Chapter 8 on Google Analytics 4 configuration was JUST refreshed, so be sure to sign back in and take Chapter 8 again!
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Tools, Machine Learning, and AI
- Fake Name Generators And Random Face Generators Make AI Impersonation Easy via Dataconomy
- MarTech‘s marketing AI experts to follow
- These are Microsofts Bing AI secret rules and why it says its named Sydney via The Verge
Analytics, Stats, and Data Science
- The Surprising Benefits of Data Analytics for Furniture Stores via SmartData Collective
- 7 AI-Powered Tools to Enhance Productivity for Data Scientists via KDnuggets
- Docker for Data Science Cheat Sheet via KDnuggets
Dealer’s Choice : Random Stuff
- Mood state effects of chocolate – ScienceDirect
- EXIT EDEN – Total Eclipse Of The Heart (Bonnie Tyler Cover) | Napalm Records – YouTube
- JONATHAN FRAKES: Star Trek Reunion, New Season of Picard, Phish Credits & Director Pain Points – YouTube
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How to Stay in Touch
Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:
- My blog – daily videos, blog posts, and podcast episodes
- My YouTube channel – daily videos, conference talks, and all things video
- My company, Trust Insights – marketing analytics help
- My podcast, Marketing over Coffee – weekly episodes of what’s worth noting in marketing
- My second podcast, In-Ear Insights – the Trust Insights weekly podcast focused on data and analytics
- On Twitter – multiple daily updates of marketing news
- On LinkedIn – daily videos and news
- On Instagram – personal photos and travels
- My free Slack discussion forum, Analytics for Marketers – open conversations about marketing and analytics
Events I’ll Be At
Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:
- PodCamp Philly, Philadelphia, March 2023
- Martechopia, London, March 2023. Use MARSPEAKER20 for 20% off the ticket price.
- B2B Ignite, Chicago, May 2023
Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.
If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.
Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.
Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.
Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.
My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.
Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.
See you next week,
Christopher S. Penn
You might also enjoy:
- Best Practices for Public Speaking Pages
- Transformer les personnes, les processus et la technologie - Christopher S. Penn - Conférencier principal sur la science des données marketing
- What Content Marketing Analytics Really Measures
- How to Measure the Marketing Impact of Public Speaking
- It's Okay to Not Be Okay Right Now
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