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    Why professionalism is boring AF

    Let's all be amateurs for a while

    Why professionalism is boring AF
    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
    Story by

    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

    Founder & board member, TNW

    Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and pr.co. Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

    On Monday, I received the draft of a new marketing campaign for a company I follow. It looked professional, but not in a good way. It was easy to imagine what kind of conversation preceded this campaign. Someone probably said, “I want it to look professional,” and so the marketers went with that.

    The campaign reflected a mature and professional organization. But it also looked like it could fit any organization. It was polished, clean, and corporate. But not original, emotional and personal.

    As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of professionalism. I’m much more into amateurs, and I think you are, too. See, the word amateur comes from the Latin word ‘amare,’ which means ‘to love.’ An amateur is someone who’s mainly driven by their love for a subject, not money.

    And now that you know that, wouldn’t you want to be an amateur yourself? Wouldn’t you want to surround yourself, in your life and work, with amateurs? Isn’t the problem, in many cases, that things are devoid of love and attention?

    The same was true for this marketing campaign: It suffered from a lack of love and personality. A good prerequisite for any work is that it doesn’t scream professionalism but instead shows, even emphasizes, what makes you unique.

    A campaign that gives you goosebumps, chokes you up, or even pisses you off might not always be slick and polished. It may not even look ‘professional.’ Maybe we should stop focusing on being professional for a while. Celebrate the amateur in you for a week, and let me know how it goes.

    Can’t get enough of Boris? Check out his older stories here, and sign up for his newsletter here.

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