“It’s not only been an awful decade for experts, it’s also been an awful decade for the people who need them” – Jason Seiden

The last decade has been awful for experts.

If you can remember that far back, the crash of 2008 unleashed a wave of unemployed into the workplace who quickly learned to position themselves as consultants as opposed to laid-off. The avalanche of marketing noise was deafening.

Next came the ridiculous rise of hyperbole, which further obfuscated real expertise beneath titles like guru, rock star, and ninja, or under claims to expertise such as 30-Day Challenge Participant, Citizen Reviewer, or Blogger, which may or may have represented actual subject matter expertise.

Then came social media at full force, with its voracious appetite for content: if you weren’t writing about and talking about and being interviewed about your area of expertise on the daily, forget it, not only didn’t your expertise count, you didn’t count.

And with social media came the trend of pushing choice to people—about everything, all the time. Where once there was an expert, now there was a facilitator. Because hey, who knows how to do you better than you, am I right?

Speaking of facilitation, we started to apply the same thinking to critical opinions, too—recommendations stopped being provided by people with actual knowledge in a subject area, and instead became provided by The Wisdom of the Crowd via 5 star ratings… never mind if their ratings were largely made in the moments after opening the box yet before using the product.

Now, here comes the fatigue. Because it’s not only been an awful decade for experts, it’s also been an awful decade for the people who need them:

Need an expert? Google and LinkedIn are completely junked up. I can’t tell an actual expert from a content expert from an aggregator who paid peanuts to re-purpose someone else’s content, either with or without attribution. Maybe I should research more to see if I can figure out who here is for real… down the bunny trail I go.


Jason Seiden, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board Contributor

So much content. I’ll never get through it. Who’s done this already, and what do they say? Let’s go to the reviews… and down the bunny trail I go.

I’ve found several “expert” opinions. Each has a YouTube channel. One vlogged his first 30 days with the latest product. Another has been using an older version for 3 years and seems expert in it. A third doesn’t have much of a footprint but the 2 other people all refer to her as the OG. Am I more like the OG? The expert? Or the newbie? I need to know so I know who to listen to… and down the bunny trail I go.

Yikes! What I thought was the best option turns out to only be a 3-star solution… and let’s face it: I’m not a 3-star kind of guy. But from what I read, this really looked like the best option, so where did I go wrong? Better re-assess. Down the bunny trail I go!

Turns out, my assessment of those experts was off—they all refer to each other because it’s some kind of scam. I need to dig deeper… and down the bunny trail I go.

Interesting, this homework led to content isn’t exactly what I’m looking for, but interesting for my next project… and down the bunny trail I go.

Aha! A decision is made. A purchase—and a big one, too.

Now I’m getting ads and emails from competing products I didn’t know existed before. How is this possible? Did I make a mistake? Oh, no, I’m sure I made a mistake!!! All that time, wasted.

And after all that research, who can I blame, other than myself?!

Like I said, it’s been a horrible decade for experts, and even worse for the people who need them. I think we can all relate to this on a personal level, yet it’s the same inside businesses. It doesn’t matter if you’re seeking counsel or buying a service or buying a product, we’ve taken to shoulder everything ourselves to the point where the world doesn’t serve up expertise to us anymore, it just serves up the pieces we need to become experts on everything.

Is it any wonder that with all this wheel-spinning and self-reliance and lack of direction, that people are as stressed out as they are?

I could really use someone I can trust. An expert. I’m dealing with so much, and I’m tired of having to become an expert for a day on whatever topic it is I need to make a decision about. When I was growing up, being an “expert on everything” was a bad thing—no one liked a know-it-all. Inevitably, the know-it-all hardly knew anything at all.

I’m exhausted, I’m stressed, and the next time I have to make a heavy decision, I could really use someone who knows what the hell they’re talking about to show me the way. I don’t want to have to be a master at financial plans, health saving plans, medical spending plans, supplemental insurance plans, or 401(k) plans. I don’t want loose guidelines, I don’t want a menu of options, I don’t want to have to choose between things I don’t know about.

I want someone who knows what they’re talking about—and I mean as determined by some objective measure that’s not just some other person’s opinion about how smart they are—to tell me the top 2-3 options and then explain why one is best for my circumstances.

That’s what I want.

Can we bring back the experts now, please?

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