Many years ago I worked with Dr Archie Yeo. He was the program director for our radiography (x-ray technologist) training school. One of the things we did together was interview people for entry into our program. Dr Yeo was an interesting guy. A moustached, pipe smoking, radiologist/ philosopher. At the end of one of our interview days, we chatted about what different interview criteria meant. He talked about his theory on experience. For example, he said if a person has 10 years of experience, do they have 10 years of experience or 10 x 1 year of experience? He said that some people didn’t seem to learn anything new after year one so they had 10 x 1 year of experience. Other people had what we would more traditionally think of 10 years of experience. They grew in knowledge and skills every year.

I was wondering if the Dunning Kruger effect is like this? ( The effect describes the contrast between confidence in doing something and competence in that same skill. Some people are very confident in certain skill areas. Is that confidence based on how long they have done something? When people are tested in some areas they are confident in, they can actually be quite incompetent. Driving is often used as an example. Are you a great driver just because you have driven for 30 years?

Which do you assume when you hear someone has 10 years of experience? The traditional concept or Dr Yeo’s 10 x 1 = 1 theory?

I wonder if this applies to giving presentations?

Joe Pops

2 Replies to “When 10 x 1 = 1. How do you rate experience?”

  1. Joe:

    I agree with Dr. Yeo. Yesterday I blogged about your post, and tried to track down who first said ten years or just one repeated. My dad taught chemical engineering from 1935 to 1955, and I remember him saying something along those same lines. I suspect the saying might have come from someone else in the American Society for Engineering Education, but wasn’t able to find it via Google or JStor.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I just remember Dr Yeo saying it a couple of times. His family was originally from the UK (he told me once the origin of his name was Yeoman). Maybe it’s an old saying from there?


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