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SXSW Interactive 2015

Exploring Impostor Syndrome: We're phonies!

We may be impostors. We're not really sure how we got this far in our careers, but people have bought it so far! We might be phonies, and one days someone will stand up at work and say "You there! You have no idea what you're doing!"

Most people feel they are in over their head. Most people feel there are impostors, are phonies, and may be discovered one day. BUT NO ONE TALKS ABOUT THIS OUT LOUD. We are ashamed so we assume we are alone.

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to recognize their mistakes.

Chanelle Henry and Scott Hanselman are impostors. We'll see why we feel this way, the phenomenon in tech, and consider how we can all work through it! We're phonies, and that's OK.

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  1. Am I alone in feeling like a phony or impostor?
  2. Do extremely successful people feel overwhelmed or like phonies?
  3. When can impostor syndrome be a motivator rather than paralyzing?
  4. Is it too late to be amazing or to achieve?
  5. How does impostor syndrome relate to the concept "fake it 'til you make it?"


  • Scott Hanselman, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft
  • Chanelle Henry, Director of UX, Bluewolf


Scott Hanselman, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft

Meta Information:

  • Tags: psychology, startups, diversity
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: Entrepreneurialism and Business
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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