We have entered into the era of the amateur.
When we usually think of amateurs we think of persons not doing it right, not perfected in their skills and not as good as a professional.
But what is an amateur? Wikipedia says: Translated from its French origin to the English “lover of”, the term “amateur” reflects a voluntary motivation to work as a result of personal passion for a particular activity.
So, a professional is someone doing it for the money while an amateur is doing it for her passion. This is a significant difference.
The change in Media is disruptive, publishers are scarred and acting irrational and readers just expect to get news at no (direct) cost.
Enter the Amateur, someone doing this for her passion, not for direct financial remuneration, but for other causes. Mike Nierengarten is touching upon this in his blog entry The Future Newspaper, where he suggests that future newspapers may be crowdsourced and then edited.
An other advantage for the amateur is that she may not be schooled in the field she is working. Today’s dramatic change in the media industry as well as other industries require leaders without tradition of the industry, leaders that look upon the business with a fresh set of eyes, not tinted with history and “old knowledge”. This approach has been proved successful several times, for example with the InnoCentive project where R&D is crowdsourced. MIT lecturer Karim Lakhani says, “We actually found the odds of a solver’s success increased in fields in which they had no formal expertise” (from The Rise of Crowdsourcing in Wired).
The professional is a thing of the 1900s, let us once again embrace the amateur that work with passion, without expecting direct financial compensation but getting paid for a job well done.
This is a recycled blog post initially published at my company blog for Yabot in Aug 2009, but I still find it relevant.