The present and future of post production business and technology

Professionalism is for Amateurs

Professionalism is for Amateurs

After making the case that “professionals” rejected the founders of Google, the founders of Apple and that amateurs created the “much bigger than the pro encyclopedia” Wikipedia, the article finishes with this clincher:

My reluctance to work with so called ‘professionals’ goes so far that whenever someone says “Lets do this the professional way” or “But that doesn’t seems professional” I can’t help but instinctively move in the other direction. If it seems professional to me it sounds boring and unoriginal.

Its the awkward people, the creative thinkers and the unconventional innovators that rule the world. Not the people who act ‘professional’ and follow the beaten path.

Re-invent the world; act unprofessionally!

But what really is a professional?

I think there are two meanings of professional, that often become conflated. There is the professionalism of day-to-day operations. When applied that way, it is very valuable. I want other people I work with to be professional: courteous, prepared, knowledgeable, attentive.

But once you get our of the day-to-day into a more meta position, professionalism-as-conventional-wisdom falls short. Conventional wisdom (which I do think is what the writer means by their use of “professionalism” in the article) needs to be regularly overturned as it becomes too conventional and fails to adapt.

If you doubt me, think about the changes to RED’s postproduction workflow over just the last three years. For at least half that time, each RED workflow was updated and custom. In fact, RED Digital Cinema is probably another example of how the “professionals” (Sony, Canon, Panasonic, et al.) all said it couldn’t be done but “amateurs” (highly, highly skilled amateurs) did it.




One response to “Professionalism is for Amateurs”

  1. I agree. When I think “professional” I think “highly competent, skilled, and paid for it”. The article’s use is far more like “traditional” to my mind.