Experts and Creatives: Enemies or One in the Same

Which came first—The expert or the creative?

This might be a controversial topic but we think it’s one worth exploring for a number of reasons. Nonetheless, let’s start with a “fun” and “uncontroversial” topic of the typical stereotypes. The common thread between the two sounds something like this:

Creative: They (experts) are dull and set in their ways.

Expert: They (creatives) are whimsical and unfocused.

Is any of this true or are both of these types of people really the same, but in different trajectories and with certain concrete, bad-example stigmas associated?

Are the following people experts or creatives?

  • Steve Jobs

  • Bill Gates

  • Sidney Crosby

  • Pablo Picasso

  • Sir Isaac Newton

  • Nikola Tesla

Before we dig into that question, if you haven’t read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, we highly recommend it. Nonetheless, their is somewhat of a semi-hidden message—aside from the situational luck component—in the book that is applicable here. Experts are Creatives. I mentioned Sir Isaac Newton for one reason and it is for a very famous quote:

If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants.

You see, all of the people mentioned above were all experts before they were creatives. It’s very difficult to have it the other way around. How can you be creative without knowing the subject matter? How can you create a new method or approach, without knowing the faults of prior or lesser models. You can’t.

Our Personal Experience

When we launched Close Notes, we’d like to think of ourselves as experts in sales and face-to-face meetings. But while we know the methodologies and how to design the product, we didn’t necessarily know how to build a brand, leverage beautiful designs to create online interest, or take even remotely nice photographs. This is why we relied heavily on the Creative Studio of Danny Trombley. Our launch and online identity relies heavily on his creativity and expertise.

The same is also true for salespeople—who are highly competitive and want to be great at everything they do. But the truth is, you can only be a Master of One or a Master of None (Jack of all trades). Many times we see salespeople try to do too much and, in that vein, they actually start to lose more deals and have dissatisfied customers. Take the time to learn who your experts are and don’t be afraid to leverage them.

It’s time to focus intently on what you excel at and continue on that path—if you aren’t an expert, keep learning and you will be. When you become an expert, you might just become a creative.


A Special Thank You to Danny Trombley

Josh Kondik