The above cryptic post has been up for a while. A word of explanation and a lesson to be learned:
I have been trying for a month to get this blog indexed by Technorati, the search engine that specializes in blogs. The procedure is pretty simple. When you give them your blog address — in this case http://mnav.com/blog — they give you a little piece of code that is 10 numbers and digits long, which you can see at the top of this post. You publish that on your website, which tells them that this is your site.
Well, that little piece of code has been sitting there for about a month. Technorati claims that it goes out and finds that code on your blog within about an hour. When I keep checking, I get various kinds of error messages which they ask you to report back to them. I've done that several times over the last month, receiving an automated response to my e-mail but never a reply or resolution.
So I went to their support forum. There are dozens upon dozens of complaints about the inability to claim blogs. Most of these are unresolved and unanswered. A wider Google search (what, do you think I'd use Technorati?) reveals widespread complaints about their unresponsiveness chronicled on dozens of websites.
Apparently, their unresponsiveness is both broad and deep, across many different issues, for a long period of time. These complaints stretch over the last couple of years. They are punctuated by occasional responses from Technorati claiming that they are rectifying one kind of technical problem or another, but never, apparently, resolving the issue.
Responsive, customer oriented companies actively monitor the web for these kinds of posts. They respond quickly to complaints, especially from authors and bloggers like me. Especially when the post might give voice to the many many other people out there who are also dissatisfied but not leaving complaints on their forum. let's see how long it takes them to spot this post and respond to me. Don't hold your breath.
I nominate them for Most Unresponsive Company of 2009.
Their slogan should be:
Technorati: Taking Web 2.0 to a new level of unresponsiveness
Oh, the lesson: You don't have to work hard at making people hopping mad. Just ignore them. It's easy.
Expert Blindness, and Knowledge Blindness:
A person once gave driving directions to someone who he knew was a first-time visitor to his town. “Drive down to the corner where the bank used to be, and make a right.”
An expert knows everything about an area except one thing: What it’s like to know nothing.
“Knowledge Blindness” —and its extreme form “Expert Blindness” — refer to the things that people who are knowledgeable can’t see because they can’t experience what it’s like not to know: such as what words beginners don’t understand, how difficult a task is to do or learn, distinctions that non-experts can’t discriminate and appreciate, and implications that are dependent on advanced knowledge.
It bears repeating: Knowledgeable people can’t see what it’s like to know nothing.
Knowledge blindness is the tendency to not be able to see the details, complexity, ambiguity and difficulty of someone not familiar with an area. When something is familiar, it is automatic. The details and examples that built the concept drop out. It is now an abstraction. If you use that abstraction with a beginner, he/she won’t know what you’re talking about. So, experts can talk with each other directly in sweeping abstractions, without the specifics that the abstractions group, while non-experts have no idea what they’re talking about. To communicate with beginners, you nee to start with concrete specifics and real-world examples, then group them into abstractions. That’s why I started with the driving directions example above.
In marketers, this is extremely prevalent in product descriptions. Remember all the times you tried to follow assembly instructions or a product manual and it was gibberish? People do not realize that new customers do not understand even the most rudimentary terminology.
In my marketing consulting practice, knowledge blindness is why most of my clients come to me, although most don’t realize it. When I explain it, it seems to come as a pleasant shock. Pleasant because it’s great to be reminded how expert you are, but it’s a bit of a shock to realize that you can’t go back to experience things through the eyes of your prospects and customers. If you’ve invented the product or service, or been through the steps of its development, you have never actually experienced seeing it for the first time in its current, finished (for now) form.
This is particularly true in finding the decision blocks that are so central to my approach to marketing. You literally can’t see what people are getting stuck on: their vague, unarticulated qualms, worries about things that don’t exist, confusions, etc. Sometimes the customers themselves can’t tell you. You need an outside person who knows the customer decision making process to go through the process of learning about your product, and spotting the probably sticking points, then verifying it by fixing and testing.
If you keep wondering why people don’t get the “obvious,” especially in areas where you are an expert, you’ve got knowledge/expert blindness.
What are some of your favorite examples of Knowledge or Expert Blindness? Add them in the comments section below.
Current Examples to be added to:
Although they have made enormous strides, Apple still doesn’t get how hard it is for people to switch from Windows.
Update and Report: 6/26/11
I’ve been using the concept of knowledge blindness as long as I can remember. So, I was knowledge-blind to its importance. Many people tell me that once they hear the concept of knowledge blindness, they start spotting it in themselves and others several times a day, and find themselves talking about it often. If you practice spotting knowledge blindness in yourself and others, your writing will improve, you’ll spot massive omissions in your persuasion materials, you’ll see competitive opportunities everywhere and your vision will improve.
A "live book" is a book posted on my web site that allows visitors to ask questions, make comments, or even make a contribution to the book (by giving their own example, for instance). By making a comment, your are giving me permission to include it in the book, in whole or in part, as-is or modified, with with or without attribution (at my discretion, although all requests for anonymity will be honored).
Each blog post is dropped into the appropriate book in the right place. You can subscribe to the blog as an RSS feed or as an email subscription, so that you can follow along as I write each book.
Quoted in The Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing: How to Trigger Exponential Sales Through Runaway Word of Mouth By George Silverman, AMACOM. This book will keep you off the crooked road of conventional marketing and set you on the straight and narrow path to greatly increased sales with less marketing expenditure.
Please copy and give to a friend or colleague. It’s an example of one of the secrets of word-of-mouth marketing: Give people something valuable that’s an example of your product or service or your quality, or your good taste, with your name on it. You can get an electronic copy of the poem at mnav.com/the-calf-path/ . It will also be an interesting experiment to see how much this obscure poem gets passed around. (Another secret of WOM Marketing: Appeal to the fun of participating in a beneficial experiment.)