This is a very interesting question my Dad and I have debated a lot.
My Dad has always told me, that salesmen, and more importantly, upper management, doesn't need to have any deep or extensive understanding of their products. He has told me you can abstract the specifics of the product out of the equations, and there are standard ways you run the business (ie ways to promotion, ways to make deals, methods streamlining production, ratios of research dollars vs spending dollar, etc), that work regardless of the product, or at least should serve as a very important guideline.
Personally, this is something I completely disagree with, but I've been searched in vain to explain to Dad why. Best I could do is point out that Bill Gates has extensive knowledge of not only the market he was in, but also its advances. Bill Gates has made more money than any other CEO. Thus, I concluded to Dad, this was an example of my idea being correct.
However this example doesn't really help me put into words *why* I felt my theory was correct. Instead, all Dad see's is a 23 year old guy in a T-shirt telling him things counter to 30+ years of experience has taught him.
I feel this interview of David Crosby, which my Dad can relate to, does an excellent job showing how upper management not have better knowledge of their product can run a business into the ground.
] =It actually happened that way?
] Yes. The people who run record companies now wouldn't
] know a song if it flew up their nose and died. They
] haven't a clue, and they don't care. You tell them that,
] and they go, "Yeah? So, your point is?" Because they
] don't give a s---. They don't care. They're actually sort
] of proud that they don't care.
] Look at it this way. A couple of years ago, somewhere
] between a fourth and a third of the record business was
] owned by a whiskey company, who shall remain nameless,
] but were notably inept at running a record company. And
] they sold it to a French water company, who shall also
] remain nameless, but knew even less. Now, those guys
] haven't a clue! [laughter] They haven't a clue. And they
] don't care about having a clue. They are trying to run it
] as if they're selling widgets, plastic-wrapped widgets
] that they can sell more of. And they want easily
] definable, easily accessible, easily creatable,
] controllable product that has a built-in die-out, so that
] they can create some more.
] By that, I mean, "Get me a lead singer. He's got sort of
] an androgynous blonde hair, very pretty. We need a guitar
] player, sort of hatchet-faced, wears a hat, plays very
] fast, very dramatic. He must be very dramatic. Get me a
] pound of bass player, pound of drummer. I don't think he
] needs keyboards; I think we look good. And we'll call
] them the Bosco Bombers! No. The Bad Dogs... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]