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A happy bunch of amateurs.

(6 minute read.)

'Yippy kai yay, motherf***er.'

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When I was a kid, Olympic athletes were amateur. And although they didn't get paid they're no less skilled than contemporary corporately-sponsored counterparts.

And bankers and lawyers are of course professional, yet they've historically hardly been shining examples of either competence or virtue.

My personal view is that, although of course 'pro' does carry weight and an expectation of quality, too often it's used to convey self-important authority, whether deserved or not.

I'm encouraged by Dave Winer's 'Amateurs Have More Integrity', from which I clip:

Amateur is not below professional. It’s just another way of doing.

The root of the word amateur is love, and someone who does something for love is an amateur. Someone who does something to pay the bills is a professional.

The amateurs have [more integrity than] the professionals. If you’re an amateur you have less conflict of interest and less reason not to tell your truth than if you have to pay the bills and please somebody else.

Hhhmmm… thanks, Dave.

And a former friend, with whom I Iet contact lapse, (a sales trainer with a teaching degree from Harvard) has views on this…

Word history: amateur's ultimate Latin source, amtor, 'lover, devoted friend, devotee, enthusiastic pursuer of an objective' and from its Latin-derived French source, amateur, with a similar range of meanings.

'Professionals' who do things for the money have too often sold out; they'll say and do whatever they have to, to make the sale. That's why people don't trust many of 'em anymore.

Corporate websites write copy first because they want to sell stuff. Enthusiastic bloggers write first because they have something to say. Which would you rather read on a favorite topic? Sellers or lovers?

There are advanced lovers/amateurs like Apple, who combine their love and passion for what they do with neat marketing and the resulting fab products make them big money now. Or Google, who invent a new service or feature, make it free, and only later figures out how to make money on it.

Today, after years of eroded trust, 'professional' isn't what it used to be.

When it begins with who the person really is, what their worldview and values are, and what they enjoy doing and talking about, chances for success are much better than when it starts with the money.

Well, she's a lot smarter than me so who am I to argue?

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