What I want to talk about today is a little saying I picked up in MBA school, although I do not remember exactly where it originated: "Do what you do best, and let somebody else do the rest."
This saying came up in answer to multiple commenters complementing my blog site, and wondering how I managed it.
The short answer is that I didn't. I'm a writer. What I write about is mostly technology, but I also tell a few stories, crack a few jokes, and even cover some news items.That's what I do best, and have been doing it long enough so I can claim to be an expert.
Although I know how to create a website, and have done so many times, it's not what I do best. Other people can do a much better job in less time than me. So, what I do is hire them to do what they do best -- design websites.
Since I'm trying to drum up interest in my latest novel, Red, and the principle of doing what you do best is a major theme in it, I'm going to be flagrantly self-promoting and refer to it.
The main character, Red McKenna, is on a quest to find her long-lost father. Her initial idea is to just drive to the last place she knows for sure he was, and look. That gets her about 250 miles (out of a couple of thousand) before she ends up stranded by the side of the road.
She does finally succeed in her quest, but not without the aid of over a dozen experts who each contribute a little bit to her reaching her goal, from the mechanic who fixes her car, to the SEAL team that finally springs the trap to catch the bad guy. Part way through the project, she admits: "When I first started out, I thought I could do it on my own, but I couldn't....I didn't realize how big it was until I started working on the details."
What she ends up doing is managing the project, not doing it all herself. She's the one who wants to find her father, but she really doesn't have the skills to complete all of the tasks her quest involves. What saves her bacon is hooking up with her mentor, Doc, who does know how to handle the thousands of details that any project involves. He knows to identify those details, then find an expert to do each one right.
So, when you decide you want to build your website, or repair your car's transmission, or any of the thousands of things that people living in a technological society need to do, start by asking if it's in your area of expertise.
We all have our area of expertise, which is a small island surrounded by an ocean of stuff we're really not competent to do on our own. If what you want to do is in your area of expertise, have at it. If not, go find somebody who can do it better. Then get them to do it.
A final example: I'm in the process of publishing a sequel to Red entitled Vengeance Is Mine! One of the most expensive parts of publishing a novel is getting cover art.
I'm supposed to have some talent as an artist. In fact, my mother once told me she expected me to grow up to be a graphic artist, not a writer. I can -- in fact I did -- rough out a cover for the new book that cost me nothing.
I'm not planning to use it, however. I know that there are people out there whom I can pay to put together a much better, more attractive, and more compelling cover than I can. I'm going to end up paying them to do it because I'm not conceited enough to think I can do a better job than somebody who does it day-in and day-out for a living.
Just as I did for Red, I expect to rough out a concept, which I'll hand off to a professional graphic artist, who will do a much better job executing the finished product than I could.