Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Valid Opinions

A friend of mine was in a meeting yesterday and he called me right after because he was upset. Apparently he and someone else had conflicting opinions about how to do something that neither one of them had ever done before... so they were both essentially guessing.

He was mostly upset because he said the other guy's opinion was just as valid as his and so far it's brought the group to a standstill while they figure this out.

I told him that there's no way that both opinions are equally valid. In some instances that may be the case, but in this one, I happen to know who the other guy is and I know that when it comes to SQL brains he definitely got the short end of the stick. So I'm saying it out-right: not all opinions are equally valid. My mother-in-law likes to put her 2-cents in when we're sitting around talking computers. She doesn't know the 1st thing about it, but she likes to give her opinion anyway. So when I ask Jen's brother something, his answer is worth more to me than her mother's. The same holds true here right? Because someone is in a group and was invited to a meeting that doesn't mean that they have equal say in things.

Here's another really good example... let's say that there's a weird recovery scenario or even corruption scenario that you come across. And you come up to me and Paul Tripp at a conference and ask us what our opinions are. I'd say that Paul's opinion in this case is worth far more than mine. Sure, I'm a qualified DBA and I've been around the block more than a few times, but Paul WROTE CheckDB so I think he carries a little more weight than I do. Even if it's something neither of us has heard of before, I'd still take his guess over mine.

So no, I'm not one of those who believes that everyone's say is as equally important as everyone else's. Hell, I don't even believe that everyone should even have a say. Some people are just not qualified to give opinions on a topic. In a restaurant you don't see the dishwasher getting a say in what specials go on the board, and in a dojo you don't see white belts chiming in on black belt promotions. So why is it that everyone in IT thinks they deserve an equal say just because they were invited to the meeting?


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Sean McCown
I am a Contributing Editor for InfoWorld Magazine, and a frequent contributor to as well as I live with my wife and 3 kids, and have practiced and taught Kenpo for 22yrs now.
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