John August on Amateur vs Professional

The incomparable John August delivers a commencement address! Here are some quick notes:

So to review, here’s what I’m including in my definition of “professional”:

  • Presentation, a.k.a. “Giving a shit”, how a professional presents him or herself, either in person or in writing
  • Accuracy
  • Consistency
  • Accountability. That means, when asked the question, “Who did this?” You can raise your hand and say, I did. I was responsible.

A definition: Peer standards = within the class of people doing what you’re doing, there’s consensus about what’s acceptable and what’s not.

Thesis #1: “Professional” has nothing to do with getting paid.

Thesis #2: A lot of the “professional” media is staggeringly unprofessional.

Thesis #3: You don’t get to pick when you’re going to be professional, and when you’re going to be amateur.

Thesis #3.01: You don’t get to be an amateur at all.

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