DEV Community

Cameron
Cameron

Posted on

Experts and Interlopers

Experts give a lot of value to their team. They get a ton done, they know things inside and out, and they can operate well within the system. They're great to consult with questions. They're good at building things quickly and in a stable manner.

Interlopers give a lot of value to their team. Because they're coming in from the outside, they're a font of new ideas that can drastically improve team processes, practices, and standards. They have no attachment to the status quo. They bring in smart ideas from other fields at a higher rate. They stoke revolution.

There's a reason revolutions are most common in countries with high numbers of unemployed teenagers.

Experts, despite their skills, have indeed drunk the Kool Aid. They're indoctrinated into the status quo, and it takes additional, rarer skills for an expert to see outside of the bubble in which they function so effectively.

I guess the takeaway here is that it's important for you to have experts and interlopers on your team. Those that preserve the status quo, that teach the old ways, and that know their way around the system, and those that can bring new revolutionary ideas to your team.

And the even bigger, more difficult-but-worth-it goal, might be to become and expert while still retaining that interloper spirit, never getting too comfortable with the way things are while still understanding how they work.

Discussion (4)

Collapse
ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

There's a reason revolutions are most common in countries with high numbers of unemployed teenagers.

Interesting supporting statement. Usually, however, the dynamic around unemployed teenagers in revolution-prone countries breaks down to, "when you're in a situation of having little to lose and lots to gain, it favors taking action – any action – to change your situation." Not sure that "interlopers" are categorically in such a situation.

Collapse
stereobooster profile image
stereobooster

What makes person an expert in your opinion?

Collapse
cameronblandford profile image
Cameron Author

I'm relying on the definition from the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition, the chart on the second page does a better job explaining than I could do in a comment!

Collapse
stereobooster profile image
stereobooster

As far as I'm aware Dreyfus initial purpose was to criticise artificial intelligence and argue that is not possible to repeat some brain activities with machine. In the process of arguing they developed this theory of expertise (which is not based on empirical evidence, I haven't read original paper only critics). So I would take this idea with a grain of salt