Really, most smart people don’t know shitake! Several years ago I was at a social event hosted by a local entrepreneurial organization. I was speaking with an engineer who had just got his MBA (Masters Business Administration) who proceeded to tell me why most entrepreneurs and small business owners had no idea what they were doing and why he could save them.
Now, given that I’m an entrepreneur and at the time was CEO of a startup, I was fascinated and ready to listen to what he had to say.
He told me that he had just graduated from MBA School and he knew what all entrepreneurs and small business owners were doing wrong. He said that he was ready to start his own business, and he wouldn’t have any of the typical problems that would happen because he knew better. He knew how to avoid these problems because he had tenaciously studied them.
After he made this claim, I asked what his real world experience was. He had none, but that mattered none because he had diligently focused on case study.
Here was an extremely smart guy professing to have the answers and yet he was making a total fool of himself to a guy that barely graduated from high school, but had seen enough smart people give advice just like him.
Would you want to hire this guy? I sure wouldn’t want him on my team. What would he do when he faced a situation that didn’t work out like the book said it would?
Entrepreneurs are people that create new ways to do business. Case studies don’t work because we do it differently so that we can do something better, faster and/or cheaper. We are the people that see beyond what the books says you can and cannot do.
Don’t get me wrong, I think education is extremely important. I can’t tell you how many times I wish I would have taken the time to go to school and take it seriously. I would be farther ahead. Now, I spend my life getting the education that I missed out on then.
When it’s your business, you are the expert. It is extremely wise to consult people who are educated in areas that you need help with, but you have to give them all the information to help you make the right decisions. Otherwise, a smart person doesn’t know shitake!