Amateurs, Professionals and the Market

This is a post on distinctions I got when I went swimming.

Tonight I went to swim at the national swimming pool in anggerek desa. I was planning to swim at the Olympic size pool above. but the area was being prepared and booked for a swimming competition the next day. Committed to swimming, I went in anyway, assuming that there wouldn’t be a lot of people in the pool below. I wasn’t wrong, but they were significantly a handful of people. some kid on the sides, some girls at the deep end. all practicing swimming or having fun.

I went to deep end and started my laps. Initially, i found it quite clear, but realized that I had to watch where I was going.  In my usual drill I focused on looking at the line, but if i did so, I would end up colliding with people. and I did, twice. Here I was in a pool of beginners, and trying to do my laps. It was challenging, but I wanted to swim. I usually get my distinctions during the swim. This time, I got it when I shared with my wife after the swim, and some of these when I am typing this up.

The way I see it. The pool was like the business market. I was one of the big players, having the proper skills, equipments, experience and knowledge. and the beginners were small players, still young and small, sharpening their skills, might not have the resources, speed, stamina of a big player. A simple example would be amateur photographers and professional photographers. Both do events and wedding photography, the amateur tends to charge less, while the professionals tend to charge more.

Now here is when it gets interesting. As an “expert” swimmer, I admit my form was not up to par when I was swimming in the pool full of beginners. I had to watch where I was going, I had to maneuver whenever a beginner was in my way, or else they would get hurt. In photography, a few professional photographers have complained about amateurs charging cheap prices, which end up them lowering their price or cutting down on their quality.

In a pool full of beginners, they all have an equal opportunity to improve themselves. But at some point, some of them might not improve significantly until they are willing or be courageous to upgrade themselves to the expert pool. Amateur photographers tend to stay amateurs if they are unwilling or are too afraid to move up. To either upgrade their equipment, or charge higher, or add more value to their services, or find bigger and better customers.

In a pool full of experts, they all perform their best, working on their techniques, getting the best out of themselves, competing with others, competing with themselves. In a market full of professionals, they all can charge high, competing with each other not just in terms of price, but more on adding value to their service, to become better, to serve their customers better.

In a pool of mixed levels the experts will not perform their best, they have to keep an eye out for the beginners, It’s nice that they can impress beginners, or make them envious, but the expert needs to find a pool away from the beginners to prosper. Beginners will do what they do, experts cannot stop them from doing what they do. Beginners will have fun, or they want to improve themselves, where else would they be able to improve themselves. Professional Photographers cannot control the amateur photographers, all they can do is just focus on themselves and watch out for their surroundings, until they are able to find a market they can prosper in. Amateur photographers will do what they do, charge cheap prices, improve on their skills, upgrade their equipment, and eventually move up in the market.

Any big business that wants to prosper usually set themselves apart in the market, swim in their own pool. small businesses can survive for so long until they decide to become bigger players by doing what big players.

This is the first post of my distinctions in swimming, but it is not the first distinction I had. Stay tune for more previous distinctions that I have not yet shared.


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