In business, is the boundary between being an amateur and being a professional slowly blurring?
Product planning often rolls out a new product to the early-adopter market. This segment may include tech enthusiasts and fashion trend-setters, depending on the product on offer.
The early-adopter market might comprise both pros and amateurs – amateurs unconstrained by corporate budgets (including the ‘Maker’ revolution) and professionals seeking a competitive advantage, at least in the short term. Do product marketers make a distinction or lump them all into the ‘early adopter’ category?
In the luxury goods market, early adopters of the new luxury product release (a Rolls Royce car say), again might comprise passionate amateurs (wanting the luxury status in their amateur life) as well as wealthy business owners, wanting the luxury status in their professional life. Of course, the status spillover isn’t usually something they complain about either.
Switching gears (no pun intended), is there an important distinction to be made between wealthy philanthropists who give in their amateur life, versus those who arrange grants from their own business organisations?
As the product quality to cost ratio improves – cameras, music-recording systems, broadcasting, publishing, sports gear, (some) healthcare, tourism, labour-saving devices etc, does it get easier for passionate, talented amateurs to duplicate professional efforts?
Who does this matter to (the winners & losers)?
Governments whose population rely on a structured (licensed) professional labour force, strong in the above areas, might care about the changing economics of those industries, if they create unemployment and voter discontent.
The professional associations and guilds might care about the threat to their members’ livelihoods.
Educators will care about educating the workforce in the relevant skills to avoid those professional roles that are in decline.
Companies might care about capturing procurement savings as professionals rates are bid down. They will also be keen to sell to wider markets than just the business professionals alone.
Finally, is there a net cultural benefit? Professionals are incentivised to make a living first and expand/extend their art second. Amateurs the opposite. If the market blurs, will there be a faster development of the art?