Friday, June 29, 2012

I first met Karl Dakin when he was with us to share his startup experience at our Denver IDEA Cafe Startup Workshop just before he started his new job as Executive Director of the Sullivan Chair for Free Enterprise at Regis University here in Denver (click here for more). 

He was far and away the best presenter at RevenueNorth Wednesday, where he gave a great talk about the business advantage of becoming recognized as an expert on some topic, and how everyone can do it.

 Karl talked about the trend away from classical employment and toward project participation, which will change how we work and how we get work. This trend will result in the growing importance for people to establish and be recognized for expertise on particular topics of knowledge.

Individuals who become proficient at sharing their knowledge will become sought after to participate in projects where that knowledge is needed.

I liked the talk so much I started Tweeting my notes, you can see them on 

Pick a topic, write a book --Karl's book on this topic is on Kindle (click here)--start giving talks, interviews, teach a class, you'll start getting calls from people around the world who want to hire you. Karl has done this himself and with clients repeatedly, it's clearly a winning formula.

Karl started the talk by asking for a volunteer who knew how to do something. A man in the front, I think he was just trying to make a joke, said, "I know how to drive a tractor." Karl said, ok, let's take that. How many here would like to know or need to know how to drive a tractor? About a dozen people held up their hands. Karl called on a few, asked them why they needed or wanted to know about tractor driving.

Karl then asked how many would pay someone to teach them how to drive a tractor. Three people out of the hundred or so hearing the presentation held up their hands.

It dramatically made the point, whatever you know, there's a good chance some one, some where will pay you to show them, if they see you as an expert.

Has this ever worked for you?

Karl's presentation has caused me to start wondering if I need to change my approach.

For nearly 20 years I've held myself out as the non-expert, that we teach what we most need to learn our self, and that is what I've been doing with my startup workshops and consulting "practice."

Maybe it's time for me to change, to follow Karl's advice and become known as an expert in startup. What do you think? Would this be a change for the better? Would it make you more likely to pick up the phone and call me when you are starting in a new direction with your career, starting a new project or campaign, or starting a new business?

"He who knows most knows best how little he knows." Thomas Jefferson