The similarity between a guru and a newbie is that they both break the rules. The difference is that the guru knows he’s breaking the rules.

A Newbie, a Trainee, an Independent, an Expert and a Guru enters a bar….

The LEGO Death Star Canteen #EddieIzzard

  • The Newbie doesn’t know what a bar is, orders a cup of coffee  
  • The Trainee knows what a bar is, orders a beer
  • The Independent repeats a successful experience and orders a beer
  • The Expert, having written the drinks list orders a whisky
  • The Guru orders a  cup of coffee, because he needs a go***** cup of coffee

In this model the difference between a guru and an expert is – that the expert thinks he knows everything, while the guru knows he knows nothing. Even this model falls to the relative rule about X. If the Newbie doesn’t know what a bar is. Then how can he enter it?

Newbee Never heard of X No skill – no training or experience
Trainee Heard of XContext-oblivious Basic training has been received. The only experience gained has been in a classroom and/or experimental scenarios or as a trainee on-the-job. You would be expected to need some help when performing the skill.
Independent Can do XContext-specific Repeated successful experiences have been completed. Help from an expert may be required from time to time, but you can usually perform the skill independently.
Expert Wrote the X bookContext-imperial You can perform the actions associated with this skill without assistance. You are certainly recognized within your immediate organization as “the person to ask” when difficult questions arise regarding this skill. You have extensive experience and could teach the subject if you had teaching skills. You are probably also known outside your organization as an expert.
GuruMaster Know the limits of XContext-driven You can answer any question about the skill and most any question related to the field where the skill is used. The “expert” would come to you for advice. You have probably published a paper on the subject.

See also: Establish yourself as an expert or thought leaderAll oracles are fail-able