Derek Sivers

Why experts are annoying

2019-10-27

When someone becomes an expert at something, you know what else they become? Annoying.

At a restaurant, your designer friend complains about the font on the menu, your musician friend complains about the background music, and your manager friend complains about the service. Why?

The problem is that their expertise makes them annoyed. They’re trained to spot errors. They’re so aware of what’s wrong. Even worse, they know exactly how to fix it. They learned the techniques to make things great, so they’re angry when someone didn’t do the obvious solution. They get so frustrated that they can’t focus on their meal, because now they really want to fix the problem.

These things don’t bother the rest of us. We’re easier to please. Good is good enough.

So only those who are the most upset, and know how to improve things, do the hard work necessary to make things great. The dissatisfied ones go make things better for all of us.

Why are experts annoying? For our benefit. They get mad so that we don’t have to.

Next time your friend is upset and ranting about design, politics, layout, economics, or something else you don’t care enough about, thank them for taking on the burden of knowing how to fix things, and remind them that it’s up to them to make it better.