Monday, September 07, 2009


I discovered Videojug on the weekend. It offers an interesting context for an imaginary "gloss" of your knowledge (see this post and this one for my earlier ideas about "glossing" your work). How would you use the four or five minutes of a Videojug contribution?

Not all the videos are stellar, but one expert in particular, Dr. Julie Holland, has caught my eye. She's a psychiatrist who seems to be making a name for herself on the subject of psychedelic drugs. Check out her video about ecstasy, for example. Here is someone who is obviously in command of her subject. She answers the questions straightforwardly and with an easy, confident manner. We know that it is her opinion, but also that it is well-grounded in the available research. It's not just her "personal" opinion; she is stating her professional opinion. She doesn't just know what the right answer is, we might say: she also believes it.

I don't know about you, but I trust her. I happen to be a parent, but I would take Holland seriously also if I were a potential ecstasy user. Or if I were a politician interested in drug legislation. This trustworthiness is essential to expertise. You know the history of the subject and you know your own place in that history. You have an understanding of the basic causal mechanisms. You also have a good-natured understanding of any controversies that your subject is involved in. Your audience becomes more informed and better able to make decisions after listening to you talk.

So just as you can usefully think about what your research would look like in ASQ, or HBR, or the New Yorker, or the Economist, think about how a Videojug video on your subject should look. You may be developing expertise about lean management, or open innovation, or work-life balance. What kinds of questions can you answer in this confident, trustworthy way? What kinds of questions should you be able to answer?

[Update: On Wednesday I'm going to look at the difference in presentation between Chris Taylor and Scott Leonard. Can you spot the basic difference? How does it affect the trust you place in these experts?]

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