The user as expert
How would you believe an expert if you know he is trying to sell you something, be it a product or service? Consumer reports and the articles written by journalists may be more impartial, but you have to weigh the pros and cons yourself.
I've written articles in Freepint not as an expert but as a user. Such articles can be written by anyone who has gone through the process of searching, learning, and eventually deciding. The novice becomes knowledgeable enough to advise others. It is said "word of mouth" or personal recommendations are the strongest form of advertising and promotion.
There is empathy when users share experiences. The expert who has origins as a user is all the more convincing than one who is trained to sell.
In my first job as a management consultant, I hardly believed in myself. Without prior banking experience, how could I possibly advise my clients how to improve their profitability? So I left consulting and became a user myself --- I went to work for a bank. At the bank, I found myself managing traders' information needs, a task that required a grip on technology. So I left and worked for a software start-up. The story goes on and on.
To become a better writer, I have to read better writing. The more I read, the better clue I have about what and how to write. Similarly, the better restaurants I dine at, the better cook I will be.
20 March 2002 Wednesday