The State of Expertise in the 2020s

The State of Expertise in the 2020s

1024 576 Tom Seery

The decade ahead promises some incredible transformations for our lives. Expect to see the last vestiges of the Industrial Revolution meet their end point. By 2030, for instance, we’ll likely see the combustion engine become a tiny fraction of automobile sales as major automakers race toward making electric cars that both outperform and outprice combustion vehicles.

And with UPS being granted a certification in October that lets the company use drones to deliver packages on medical campuses, we’re one step closer to the possibility of full-scale drone delivery as a way of life.

On the health front, UC Berkeley professor Jennifer Doudna predicts that genome editing technologies like CRISPR will evolve beyond their current primary use case—treating disease—to playing a key role in preventive health care.

But a possible headwind to our making these leaps in technology is the decline in regard for expertise, or recognition that being an expert takes work, intensive schooling, training, and hands-on experience.

Doctors routinely tell me that they fear their specialization, whether it’s in plastic surgery or dermatology, faces the risk of extinction. That is, with Dr. Google, social media, and the rise in non-specialists entering aesthetics, patients are failing to see how one doesn’t become an expert based on clever online postings or slick promotion.

The concern about expertise decline isn’t new, but it’s getting more attention. Dr. Heidi Larson, an anthropologist, made the frightening yet believable prediction that the next global pandemic will come about due to a distrust and second-guessing of medical expertise.

I’d love to know what you’ve done to elevate your expertise in the current age, when so many are vying for the attention and trust of aesthetic consumers—sometimes for questionable reasons. In next month’s Hey Seery article, I’ll be sharing a roundup of some of your insights.

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Tom Seery

Tom Seery is the founder and CEO of RealSelf, the most popular online resource that helps consumers research cosmetic treatments and find the right medical aesthetic provider. Each month RealSelf attracts 10 million unique visitors who view 50 million photos. Another 500,000 people contact doctors and clinics seeking more information or appointments. Integral to RealSelf is a model that showcases the expertise of aesthetic providers. Experts have posted two million answers to questions and routinely upload educational videos, and patient before & after photos. Prior to RealSelf, Tom was a member of the founding team at Expedia, where he conceived a $1.2b private-label travel business, launched the cruise travel line of business, and introduced search marketing long before Google was a household name. Tom sits on the board of ReSurge International, a nonprofit that builds plastic reconstructive surgical capacity in developing countries. He also regularly lectures on innovation and serves on the board of the entrepreneurship programs at the University of Washington. Tom holds an MS from Drexel University, MBA from University of Washington, and BA from Connecticut College. He resides in Seattle with his wife and two highly energetic boys. He is @seery on Twitter or @realself_tom on Instagram, should you wish to connect.

All stories by:Tom Seery