• Gene Tavernetti, Ed.D.

Proximity to the problem does not an expert make

It was the early 1980’s. They said everyone needed to have a computer. The Internet was a not a thing yet. Email was limited to internal networks. I did not know what I would do with a computer besides use it as a cool typewriter. But, everyone said I needed a computer. I wanted a computer. So off to the computer store I went to buy a computer.

The salesperson asked, “Can I help you.”

“I would like a computer,” I responded.

“What are you going to do with it?”

“What does it come with?” I asked.

“It doesn’t come with anything. It all depends on what you want to do. Do you know what you want to do with the computer?” the salesman continued.

It was about at this point in the conversation I realized I was not ready to purchase a computer. So I decided to call my brother to ask him for his advice.

“Russ, I want to buy a computer. What should I get?”

“What software are you going to be running?” he asked.

“What is software?” was my response.

“Well there is hardware and there is software.”

“Hey, sorry, it is my call waiting”, I lied. “Thanks for your help. I will have to call you back.”

The moral: Even though there are decisions that would seem best made by those nearest the problem, there are many instances when they simply do not have sufficient knowledge to make an intelligent choice.


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