The Friday Funny: Evaluation and content expertise

How important is content expertise for an evaluator?

We have discussed in a previous post the circumstances under which evaluators require not only evaluation expertise but a deep knowledge of the subject matter itself.

And in another (a Friday Funny) we pointed out how shortfalls in evaluation and cultural expertise are often even more fatal for good evaluation than shortfalls in content expertise.

But, let’s face it, there are some situations where dropping by with our methodologies, technology, and analyses just doesn’t go well without some fundamental content knowledge – not to mention at least a minimal focus on utilization (like, what does the client actually need to know?).

This gem is an unauthorized adaptation of one of those consulting humor classics (original author unknown), drawn from

Evaluation and content expertise

A farmer was herding his flock of sheep in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of the dust cloud towards him.

The driver, a young man in a Broni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the farmer … “If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?”

The farmer looked at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looked at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answered “sure”.

The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his iPad, then he surfed to a NASA page on the internet where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, and then opened up a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an email and, after a few seconds, received a response.

Finally, he prints out a 130-page report on his miniaturized printer then turns to the farmer and says, “You have exactly 1586 sheep.”

“That is correct; take one of the sheep.” said the farmer. He watches the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car.

Then the farmer says: “If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my animal?”

“OK, why not.” answered the young man.

“Clearly, you are an evaluator.” said the farmer.

“That’s correct.” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”

“No guessing required.” answers the farmer. “You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you don’t know crap about my business…… Now give me back my dog.”

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