Minimum needed knowledge

Is it better to know a lot about a few things, or a little about a lot of things?

It depends on who you are and what you do.

A server or bartender at a restaurant better know a little bit about all the wines by the glass. It’s an easy quiz to give them. List a number of wines the way a customer would order them (“The Napa Chardonnay, please.”) and have the server or bartender write a couple of sentences.

A wholesale wine rep, especially when representing a large portfolio, is better off know a lot about a few things, for discussing those few things brings her validity in the eyes of her customers. You can be an expert in the Southern Rhone, and yet have no knowledge about Washington State. Wines she doesn’t know about can always fall back into the “I haven’t had that new vintage yet” or “Let’s try it next week” category.

Analyze this question not only for yourself but those you are in charge of.

What’s not fair is to say to somebody “You need to know everything about everything.” Life doesn’t work that way.

Is it better to know a lot about a few things, or a little about a lot of things?

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