November 5

What is an Expert?


What makes an expert?

Is it a first rate education? Certification by the powers that be?


In one of our regional news-magazines, there appeared an article over ten years ago about a man named Wes Wagner.

(The magazine is Ruralite, June 1997, and the article’s title is “A Devotion to Perfection” by Mario Milosevic).

Mr. Wagner began inventing cool little gadgets at an early age, earning his first sale at age 6.

He later (during his high school years, as far as I can surmise from the article) decided to become a tool and die craftsman. He attended college for a year, but it was too “slow” for him.

He says that education is necessary, but those who are truly motivated have no time for formal education.

Here is his perspective on education:

“The difference between a novice and an expert is 90 days”, he says. “Ninety days of intensive study. If you devote yourself to studying a subject day and night for ninety days, you will become an expert.”

Using this model, Mr. Wagner developed his own street sweeping technology, and built his own business manufacturing aluminum sleeves for the aircraft industry. In fact, as of the date the original article was written, he was one of only three manufacturers in the world who create these items.

I’m going to see if Mr. Wagner is still around; he would be 86 today. He lived and worked not far from my home.

What an inspiration!


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