The Experts Are Lying To You | S1 E2 | Big Tech on Point Podcast

Hi again everyone, this is Johno, and this is Big Tech on Point #btop, coming in with the first proper episode of the Podcast, which is The Experts Are Lying To You. And they probably are, to be honest, they are probably lying to you about a couple of things. They are probably lying about being experts, and they are probably lying about being able to solve all of your problems.

So let’s take this a little bit further away from tech and start just in the real world, in the normal world that hopefully we’ve all experienced. In the real world if somebody walked up to you and said I can solve all of your problems magically. You would say, bullshit. Because that’s what it is, it’s bullshit, you know it, I know it, we all know it. But for some reason in the tech sphere, we don’t quite get that yet, we’re a little bit naive maybe, we’ve not been exposed to technology in the same way.

So firstly, we’re going to detect the bullshit. If they are an expert at a specific thing, and when I say a specific thing, if they have any kind of brand in their job title, or their tag line, or their business name or anything like that, then they’re not an expert, the only thing they’re an expert at is bringing you to a specific platform. I’ll give you an example of this, you will have probably heard of, even if you don’t know what it is, WordPress. WordPress is fantastic, it’s a blogging platform, and it’s a website content management system, or CMR, and it is fantastic. It genuinely is really good at a very niche set of things. Now what WordPress has is the ability to add plugins, and people have done that for an unlimited number of use cases, and it’s great. Now the way we’re going to detect the bullshit, is if you talk to a WordPress developer and you say “I want to build a social media platform”, they will say “BuddyPress, it’s a plugin for WordPress, it’s fantastic, it will give you the social media platform you so crave”, fair enough. Maybe that’s the right answer.

Now if I say to the same WordPress developer, “I really want an ecommerce platform, I really wanna sell some stuff, I’m going to be a dropshipper and all the rest of it”, now I’ve been guilty of this, I’ve been there. This WordPress developer will say “WooCommerce [or some other plugin], we’ll bring it onto WordPress, WordPress can do anything”, and that’s the phrase that you’re looking for, “it can do anything, it can do all of it, it is the saviour, the number one thing that is going to solve all of the problems you have”. But this isn’t exclusive of WordPress, this is a thing that comes anywhere, because you go and talk to a consultant, that consultant is a specialist partner of Tech Firm Whatever CRM Ecommerce Platform, whatever, they don’t know how to solve your problems, they don’t even really want to.

All of that, and I will make an exception for AWS Certified Developers, but only a marginal exception, because they’re going to want to solve all of your problems with AWS, but AWS is actually fantastic and can solve most of your problems technical infrastructure problems, I should’ve charged for that shout out. But that are certain certifications that kind of qualify you in using a platform, but those people aren’t generally getting kickbacks and stuff. That’s what you want to avoid, you want to avoid the people that are going to get kickbacks, if you’re a consultant for a specific software platform you are always going to say “this software platform IS the ONE that will solve all of your problems, everything that you’re worried about will go away” – that’s what you’re looking for that’s the first step in detecting the bullshit. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So that’s how you’re going to realise “this person isn’t an expert in solving my problems, they’re an expert in onboarding me onto their platform of choice”, which might be the right choice, and I’m not taking away from that because sometimes it will be. If someone wants a blog WordPress is probably nearly always going to be the right choice.

But if you say “I’ve got all of these problems” and let’s just assume they’re a wide range of problems, I’ve got concerns about my Click Through Rates, I’ve got concerns about my Checkout, I’ve got concerns about my SEO because I rely on that, and I’ve got concerns about my dropshipping and they want to solve all of these problems with one platform that they conveniently know inside and out, the likelihood is, they’re not an expert.

They’re either lying to themselves, or maybe they’re an expert in that platform, but that’s not what you need. What you need is someone to listen to your problems, and tell you how to solve them, or advise, give you some consultation or something.

The other way to detect, is this person really an expert at solving my problems, or are they just an expert at their platform. Is ask them questions about different things, as an example; there is a system called Moodle. Moodle is a Virtual Learning Environment, a lot of Universities use it because you can upload courses and modules, and you can manage your cohorts, and you can do assessments, and they can turn in coursework and stuff. It’s pretty useful for Universities. Now obvously theere are other ways you can implement a similar thing. You’ve got platforms like Udemy, you’ve got YouTube if it’s free content, if it’s a paywall you could use WordPress to use a paygate, and handle your content that way. What you really want from your expert, is when you ask for ecommerce as you change the spec, as you change what you need this thing to do, you change the problems, ideally their opinion, their perspective, their recommendation should change with it.

The way that we’re going to sort of get around this, or the way the way that I would try to get around this situation, is that if I want ecommerce, I want a CRM, I want some enquiries, whatever it is. Try to use separate things. Because most good platforms are going to integrate with each other using a thing called an API, or they might do it a couple of different ways, but they should be able to integrate with each other. So if I go and use Hubspot, and that’s my CRM of choice, my web designer wants to use WordPress, the two can integrate. Whether that can integrate, whether that is through an API or a plugin, and I’ll cover integrations in a different episode because it’s a little bit out of scope. But that’s kind of where the bullshit it is. The bullshit is that this expert isn’t an expert, they’re not an expert in solving your problem, they’re a sales person. It doesn’t matter what the title is, it doesn’t matter if they’re a customer onboarding specialist, or a customer success executive, their only, only motivator is to get you onboarded. If they are a consultant, a technical partner, an approved partner, or anything like that. The likelihood is, they’re that one trick pony. They’re only ever going to push you towards a certain platform. Now there might be the odd person, who is an approved partner of multiple of these platforms, so they can pick one, but I’ve not come across too many like that, in my career.

For the most part, what you kind of want to do is listen to what they’re saying, and see if they’re trying to solve all of your problems with this one generic fits all fix to every problem that you’ve got. If it wouldn’t work in the real world, I wouldn’t ask to solve my spiritual, financial, and physical problems, all with a single table or something, because that would be fucking crazy. So you need to kind of put it into some kind of perspective. Now you’ve got a couple of other choices, you could go and talk to other experts from other platforms, they’re all going to do the same thing, but maybe you can judge that one of them just gives you a bit more depth or a bit more comfort, a bit more reason to trust them with certain things because whilst most platforms these days can do most things, if I go to WordPress and I look for a CRM plugin, there’s going to be one. If I go to Hubspot, just as an example, they have the ability to build your website through Hubspot. Now realistically, Hubspot’s website isn’t going to be as good as WordPress. And WordPress plugin CRM isn’t going to be as good of a CRM as Hubspot. The other thing I just want to touch on the other kind of takeaway here. Sometimes, solving all of your problems with a single platform isn’t the right thing to do, because you box yourself into this thing called Vendor Lock In, and Vendor Lock In is where all of your stuff goes into this one place, and I use the CRM as an example just because it is the easiest. You’ve got your ecommerce, your contacts database, maybe your email marketing, a bunch of stuff there.

If all of those things are in one place, it becomes quite hard to detach them once you become dissatisfied with a single part of that process. If I have ClickFunnels doing my landing pages, and maybe my ecommerce, but let’s just keep it really simple. So I’ve got ClickFunnels doing my landing pages, I’ve got WordPress for SEO, I’m using TrustPilot for my reviews, I’m using BigCartel or Shopify or whoever to handle my ecommerce. When I become dissatisfied with one of them, I’ve only got to upset one part of that puzzle and I can move it all away. Thankfully, nowadays with plugins with APIs with Zappier, with allthese other ways we can integrate this stuff, we can make most things plug into each other. So what you don’t want, is to rely wholeheartedly and solely on one platform. When you’re in that situation it becomes very hard to solve the problems that you get. If you do go and find an expert to help you solve those problems, the chances are they’re a vendor expert; they’re an expert at that platform.

Just to summarise this, the first bit of bullshit that you’re going to try and find is whether this person only has one trick up their sleeve, if they do get a second a opinion, speak to some other experts for different platforms, and just try to give yourself some comparison and some contrast. The second way you’re going to detect the bullshit, is give them a bunch of different problems, and see if their whole solution, their ooutlook goes to this same platform, that’s going to give you a really big clue. And finally, to try and avoid the Vendor Lock In, to try and avoid you being in a position where you can’t move your venture away, is try to keep those things separately. CRM providers can’t build websites as well as website providers can; website providers can’t build as good as a CRM, CRM providers can’t build as good ecommerce, ecommerce companies can’t build as good Click and Funnel management. So that’s what you’re going to want to try and do is you’re going to try and avoid that bullshit, by leveraging how good these people are at their own expertise, if it sounds too good to be true, it almost definitely is. I’m assuming you haven’t got the resources, the capability, the whatever to go and hire a consultant to tell you this, but anyone that’s talking to you for free, the likelihood is, they’re a sales person in disguise. So they’re not an expert, and they are lying to, about being an expert if they claim to be one, and about being someone that wants to solve your problems. They’re not trying to solve your problems, they’re trying to onboard you onto a specific platform.

Hopefully you’ve taken something useful away from this, and I will see you next time.

I’m Johno, this is Big Tech on Point, #btop you can follow me @johnothecoder and I’ll see you next time.

I'd love to hear your opinion on what I've written. Anecdotes are always welcome.

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