General Specialists

Seth Godin today writes about choosing the right person for the job. His (valid) point is that while to someone wielding a hammer, everything looks like a nail, if you need a nail hammered in, make sure you find somebody who believes that hammers are the best thing since sliced bread to do it.

He also says:

It sounds like I’m endorsing specialists, but that’s not really what I’m doing. What I’m proposing is that when you’re forced to choose (as opposed to mix or compromise) your tactics, it pressures you to make better stuff and to make better choices.

However, what I would love to see, is an understanding that ‘generalists’ can be specialists too. That is, one can specialise in being a generalist. Everybody’s an expert about something; some people are experts at knowing just enough about many different things to be able to realise when it’s important to find a hammer expert.

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