General Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Which is better, what you know or who you know?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26806points) February 8th, 2010

We all heard it, it is not what you know it is who you know. That may have play in some spheres of activities and jobs such as NASCAR, pro sports, politics, Hollywood, etc, where name dropping or having the right family name or inside connections can open doors for you. There are times when it don’t matter if you have a pedigree name or have connections, you have to know what you know to get the job done, like a brain surgeon, or a physicist etc. Over all which is it better to have, super superior skills, or names to drop or connections you can make?

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16 Answers

njnyjobs's avatar

They should go hand in hand, but in reality he who knows Who to know gets the crack at being able to prove What he knows….

rangerr's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction.
What you know should be the bigger influence, ideally. Having influence on people because of who you are connected to is pretty ludicrous in my mind.

Sarcasm's avatar

“Who you know” will get your foot in the door. It’s “what you know” that you need to rely on after that.
I’d prefer a world where “who you know” means a whole lot less. But alas, I’m not yet so powerful. Maybe I need to know more powerful people.

Blackberry's avatar

What Sarcasm said…

njnyjobs's avatar

@rangerr . . . I agree that that should be the case, but as @Sarcasm followed-up with, sometimes, if not often, a person with the know-how doesn’t get the job because they were not duly noticed.

rangerr's avatar

@njnyjobs Luckily, I said “in my mind”.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I think “who-you-know” may have a slight, but significant edge.

In the government organization I work for, it’s not uncommon for employees to climb the corporate ladder by sheer virtue of knowing how to phrase a resume’ and shmoozing enough to be recommended for a position/promotion.

cheebdragon's avatar

I suppose, you could always use your intelligence to meet the right people.

Oxymoron's avatar

What I know, definitely.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Oxymoron What field is your sexpertise?

@Sarcasm How would you explain Paris Hilton? She seem to have got through the door even though someone had to point her through it and appears to know nothing but people keep shoving her through more door unfortunately not the back doo.

ratboy's avatar

I’ve heard that it’s who you blow.

Blackberry's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Obviously, there are varying degrees. A child of rich parents can be sent to the best school without spending a dime, and all they have to do is perform. Another child can work for his dads company, and although he/she continuously shows they can’t do the job, will still be on the payroll just because his/her dad is the boss. Paris Hilton is one person out of how many individual situations….When people type an answer, they aren’t saying “This is the only real way….”.

iphigeneia's avatar

For ‘socialites’ like Paris Hilton, What They Know is exactly the same as Who They Know. There is an art to making, retaining, and utilising connections (which I am hopeless at, I might add). The world isn’t in the habit of hunting down talented or intelligent people, they have to put themselves out there and make themselves known.

For someone who has serious trouble remembering names, like myself, it’s an added challenge, but while society is run by people it’s much easier to get to where you want if you know them.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Blackberry I understand no one will be on the exact same footing as the next. But for instance say we are both into computers, on paper our pedigree stacks up pretty even BUT in actuality YOU are slightly more gifted and skillful than I am but when a potential client checks us both out as who to do his bidding I have the name if Steve Jobs to drop and you don’t. You are the better skilled guy but is that skill good enough to overcome the fact I have dealings with Steve Jobs or the perception of? And how superior or how inferior would my skill have to be for you to be chosen in spite the fact I have big name connections? Is what you know, better than the “who” I would know? Chew on that one a minute. ;-)

Berserker's avatar

I’d say that what you know would greatly help in knowing who to know, but then you can’t really know anything without experiencing it…damnit. There’s always a catch.

jazmina88's avatar

I think it’a destiny that gets you to the right place at the right time… you can use your talents and meet those important people that you were always meant to find in this life.

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