ramblings – is there such a thing as an anti-expert?

by | May 29, 2009 | Random | 2 comments

Image by Siphiwe Mhlambi

Image by Siphiwe Mhlambi

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I am not an expert.  I know a bit about a lot of things and a lot more about a couple of things but there is nothing that I know inside out.  I love music, but I can’t quote you dates, and albums, and lyrics, and whatever.  I can tell you how it makes me feel and that I like it, and possibly some reasons why I like it. But that’s as far as I go.

I love gadgets, and spend a lot of time fiddling with them, but it’s more about how the fit into a daily schedule rather than the specs and intricacy of the features. I may use it a bit more effectively than the next person, but that’s about it.

I am a writer and a poet.  It’s what I’m passionate about although I’m still not quite sure whether I like it or not.  I’m still learning the nuances of writing and suspect I will probably be doing so for the rest of my life.  I can’t quote you lines from Achebe, or Chaucer, or whoever.

I get the impression that the whole ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ thing is a mild putdown, and for a very long time, I felt bad about not being an expert. A master.  I have decided to embrace it.  It has treated me well.  I was able to work in television because I could comfortably jump from a magazine show, a music show, and entrepreneurship show to a show on men (well, it did help that I’m a man with that last one).  I was able to edit a lifestyle magazine for men that covered everything for restaurants, gadgets and grooming to politics, spirituality and entertainment because I am schizophrenic in my interests and my knowledge.

I think I should get business cards that say ‘Jack of all trades’.  Why do I need to focus on one thing solely and become a total expert?  I put a roof over my head and food in the fridge because I am not an expert.

Just a thought.


  1. Lantz

    Great post, I have that problem when I write my CV as I am a Jack of all trades and don’t mind getting my hands dirty and learning new things.

    Thanks again for a great post good to know I am not alone 🙂

  2. Kojo Baffoe

    Hey Lantz

    I always wonder when people will realise that having a decent grasp of a lot of things is actually more of a plus than knowing everything about one thing. You can basically put an ‘anti-expert’ on anything and they will find their way.

    I will comfortably tell you if I don’t know something, but am also able to tell you whether I can learn about it or not. My lack of expertise makes me a bit more malleable.

    Thank you for your comment 🙂


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About Kojo Baffoe

Of Ghanaian/German heritage, raised in Lesotho and currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kojo is the proverbial slashie, the professional ‘jack of all trades.’ He is an entrepreneur, writer, facilitator, content architect, former men’s magazine editor and speaker. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (1994) with majors in Economics, Marketing and Business Administration from the former the University of Natal (Durban), now University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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