Alfonso Faustino: Be selective with your SME

The Internet has brought about lots of SME (Subject Matter Experts).  Because the Internet is easily accessible, it has become the speaking platform for people without voices — a place to voice their thoughts on all kinds of subjects for free and without restrictions to do so.

Like you, the Internet has been my resource library — as an actor, I get on the Internet to find out tips about acting.  As a firearms operator, I look to the Internet to get firearm reviews of the firearms I purchase.  As a tennis player, I get on the Internet to modify my strokes, so I can better compete against other players.

Yeah, like you and the other zillions of people, the Internet has provided tons of great information from people that post information about the areas of which they are experts — during my corporate days, we call these people, SME — Subject Matter Experts.

In the corporations I worked, an SME was a person that was the master in certain areas of the company — for example, there was a SME for CRM data migration to create business intelligence reporting from metrics in a data warehouse.

To get to be known as an SME, the employee would have had a successful track record of creating, leading, and implementing a successful product, process (procedure), or project.

Note the italics I used in my SME definition — read it and keep that in mind.

The Internet, on the flip-side, has become a source of bull-crap content from posers, liars, and, in general, idiots.

When you are researching stuff on the Internet, it is important to know the person from whom you are receiving information.  Since the Internet has no criteria to restrict a person from posting information, anyone can claim the title of SME without having a track record of success.

This is dangerous; because, people that claim to be an SME on a particular topic, can influence viewers who are trying to learn something, and they will learn from an idiot; and, as a result from learning from an idiot or poser, is the learner will fail, get injured, damage property, or die.  Conversely, the follower has the responsibility to determine if the SME is legitimate — it is extremely dangerous and stupid to blindly follow someone without establishing a good reason to follow them, such as, but not limited to, researching the SME’s credentials.

One example is firearm owners that give themselves the title of being combat or tactical experts either implied or expressed.  I’ve viewed many firearms owners dressed in tactical gear punching holes at paper and metal targets at really fast speeds with their long or short firearms.  They either express or imply they have combat tactical training by showing you they can get 100 bullets to the head of their metal or paper targets within 6 seconds.  Their viewers give them the thumbs-up and encourage the behavior further perpetuating the false image of the firearms owner of being an SME.

About 1% of the viewers will see that SME’s video and purchase a firearm; he will then imitate the SME without being fully trained or educated on firearms safety and objective-trained shooting.  As a result, the viewer will be someone you read about or see on YouTube who injured himself or others, accidentally killed someone or himself, or damaged property due to a negligent discharge.  These people give responsible and safe firearms owners a bad name.

Owning a firearm is a HUGE responsibility; and if you don’t respect your firearm and be responsible with that firearm, in time you will injure or kill yourself or others or damage property.  It’s a proven fact…look it up on the Internet. 😉

When I first purchased my firearms, I did not operate them by myself. Instead, I took training courses to learn about safe and responsible firearms engagement.  After these courses, I wanted to learn about strategic combat and tactical operations for my own self-protection and protection of my family, GF, and several close friends.

My father use to ask me as a kid, “how do you know what you know is true?”  To this day, this is one of my criteria in judging people with whom I come across.  From the answers I get from the people I come across, I can determine the level of engagement I will have with them — if at all.

Each person I listen for guidance in acting, firearms, tennis, equine activities, fly-fishing, fencing, snow skiing, and so on are established in their respective fields by education, experience, and results.

As a person seeking the advice from others, use your common sense…ask questions about their credentials and experiences.  Do your own background and research on the subject matter.  Then, use that knowledge, which you now judge as credible, to see if it matches up with the person of whom you are seeking guidance.

So, for example, if you are new to acting, and you’ve read books from a reputable acting author, and the acting author mentions the importance of breaking down a scene in order to audition, then, during your search for an acting school or coach, you should be looking for acting schools or coaches that teach scene-study and breaking down a scene. If that acting school or coach doesn’t cover scene-study and breaking down a scene, then questions should pop in your head, and you should ask the coach or instructor of school for their reasons for not including scene-study or breaking down a scene in their curriculum.

If they tell you it’s a new way of auditioning, well, you should dig deeper and find out the track record of this new auditioning and acting process.

Now, I’m all about finding new ways of doing things — I’m all about innovation towards success; however, innovation, before I accept it as a process for me to get to my goal, must be proven — the innovation must have a successful track record. If it doesn’t have a successful track record, then I won’t use it.  I might try developing it on the side, and see if it gets me the results I need, but I won’t be giving up my proven way of doing things for an unknown entity or process that doesn’t have a proven track record.

So, if the school or acting coach mentions not doing scene-study and breaking down a scene as a new innovative acting process, then they should have a proven track result of working successful actors that adopted this new innovation of acting without scene-study or breaking down the scene. If the school or coach can’t provide the proven track record of successful actors using their new innovative acting method, well, you should just mosey on to the direction of the door, look back at him or her, tip your hat, and say, “thank you, this ain’t for me — good-day to you, now,” and walk on out the door — fade to black, cue music, and roll credits; because, in this film, that acting coach or school ain’t for you.  As far are your research indicates, auditioning for a television show or feature film without first breaking down and studying the scene is most likely NOT gonna lead you to booking the gig.

When I follow people on social media, I make certain I can answer this question, How do I know what they know is true? and will I be able to answer my father’s question, How do I know what I know is true as a result of learning from them?

When it comes to firearms, I only follow legitimate people — my criteria is active or non active LEOs and military personnel; and, I always validate the credibility of the stuff they are teaching me against my own common sense and my own constant research in the field I want to learn about.

Just be careful taking advice from people that claim, either implied or expressed, they are an SME.

How do you know what you know is true?

Check 6!

/s/ Alfonso Faustino


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