Tuesday, March 13, 2007

How Can I Look Like an Expert?

An expert knows how to establish a reputation; here's how to do it:

1) Find an event whose outcome is almost assured, and loudly predict that outcome every time. For example, find the name of your incumbent political representatives and predict that they will win. On average, if there is a 90% chance that incumbents win, then you will have a winning percentage of 90% -- and bragging rights! IMPORTANT: Don't be a smart-ass and randomly pick incumbents 90% of the time, and challengers 10% of the time; if you do, your winning percentage will drop to 82%. (In that case, you will correctly pick an incumbent .9 x.9 = 81% of the time, and you will correctly pick a challenger .1 x .1 = 1% of the time.)

2) Make lots of unlikely predictions. Once in a while (like the proverbial clock that's right twice a day), you will be correct. At that point, you should constantly remind others of your uncanny forecasting ability -- and they will frequently return to tap your expertise. No one will remember your losing predictions anyway -- and even if they do remember, those incorrect predictions will be dwarfed by your spectacular long-shot insights.

3) Use lots of jargon (preferably in Latin), name-drop, boast about your academic credentials and your years of experience, and condescend to your audience. If you have a European accent, use it! Never acknowledge that other views might be correct, never express any doubt, never display humor (though sarcasm can be OK) -- and if anyone questions you, feign disgust (unless disgust comes naturally). Be dismissive of others and make your impatience known when they speak; talk over them if you need to. And utilize Points #1 and #2!

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