Do we all have to be gurus?

Adele Barlow
2 min readFeb 9, 2022
Photo by Samuel Pereira on Unsplash

It’s the final day of Ship30for30, and it’s been interesting to see how online culture has a tendency to reward self-appointed experts, all who share a similar tone of ‘sit down and let me show you what I know, folks’. I find it hard to engage with this and even harder to publicly put myself in any kind of expert seat. I just can’t take myself that seriously.

Maybe that’s something I need to work on. Because the thing is, offline, if a friend asks how to start a business, I have so many opinions. I suddenly remember that I’ve been in tech startups in an amazing ecosystem like London for about 12 years now. I’ve been inside companies when they’ve crowdfunded, raised seed capital, raised venture capital, and the like, and I’ve seen teams grow, shrink, grow again, etc.

If someone at a dinner party is thinking of switching industries, I refer to the multiple books I’ve written on career change from years of experiences working inside tech platforms that helped people with exactly that. I got to meet so many coaches and came across so many useful resources.

If someone has a mysterious illness, I can’t shut up about all the different things I’ve tried over the years, from conventional and alternative health paths.

So if I can’t shut up about these things offline, then what is stopping me from posting about them online?!

Maybe it’s because the more you learn, the less you know. There’s something comfortingly ephemeral about offline interaction while online has an aura of permanence. Also, it makes me physically cringe when I do read the dweeby stuff I wrote online eight years ago. Hmm, maybe that’s it.

Or maybe it’s the fact that I don’t want to write about work as much as I want to write about life. Some of life takes place in work, but a lot of the best stuff doesn’t, and that’s what interests me and what I love reading about. I’m more interested in how someone met their first love than I am in how they raised funding. Or a struggle they’re having with their best friend, instead of a customer acquisition issue they have.

I’ve read more of that since following others from the Ship30for30 cohort. In any case, it’s been nice to get online more and to be reminded that no matter how much we each think about our digital footprints, no one else cares as much as we do. Everyone else is living their own busy life.