Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Levels of Understanding

  1. Complete ignorance: As Donald Rumsfeld would say, it’s an unknown unknown.
  2. Buzzword: Like the buzzer in Taboo… bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
  3. Use it: Oh, you can use it to do X!
  4. First question: The person asking it is in level one or two, and the people around are in level five or six. Like a song you know some of the lyrics to, you let the well understood parts come out loudly and the less understood parts drop as a mumble or whisper.
  5. Eloquence: The concept now comes out with grace, eloquence, and an appropriately modulated voice. For assholes, you might throw in some sarcasm and intimidation for good measure.
  6. Monopoly: Someone asks you a question related to the concept, and you start explaining the idea. They persist in protesting it doesn’t make sense for their question. You stand your ground, explaining further. Then they say something, and you realize the assumptions you based your understanding on don’t hold in the new setting. New concept! Go to level one. Go directly to level one. Do not pass ‘Go’.
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