The Experts Are Wrong

The Experts Are Wrong

“…great new companies always look really strange. They don’t look very much like the previous companies. So, you can get very easily trapped into believing that there is a certain way of doing things and then you will find huge exceptions down the road, which will cost you very dearly.”
- Naval Ravikant, co-founder, AngelList and VC investor

Innovation is the act of applying your creativity to discover new and often better methods of solving problems. The innovator manifests an idea into a good or service to create greater value.

Innovators create new things.

Experts are individuals or groups who have comprehensive and authoritative knowledge in a particular subject. Experts have acquired their knowledge through study and practice, usually over a long period of time.

Experts reinforce the past, the tried and true.

It’s generally accepted that the opinions of experts are valuable and correct. After all, they’ve spent lots of time studying and experiencing history.

The problem is, the future always looks different from the past.

Venture capitalist Naval Ravikant explains this phenomenon quite well: “Before Netscape came along back in the mid-nineties it was believed that there wasn’t much money to be made in Internet or Internet type products. Before Microsoft came along it was believed that the money was in hardware not in software. Before Apple and a few other computer companies came along it was believed that the money was in mainframes and enterprise not in consumer. Before Uber came along it was believed that the money was in all-virtual and software and not in handling real world things like taxi dispatchers and dealing with unions and those types of things. The conventional wisdom is always wrong.”

The practice of innovating, creating new things, is future-focused. To innovate, create, or disrupt, you must, by definition, do something different. This inherently requires that you contradict the consensus opinion. And since all projects, practices, and processes are constantly evolving, all the experts, the one’s forming the consensus, will eventually be wrong. Therefore, as you venture to create something new and special, you’ll need to decide which expert(s) and what consensus you intend to prove wrong.

And then one day, when society deems you an expert, humble yourself by remembering that soon you’ll be wrong, too.

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