More Amateurs/Professionals

The following was written by Bob Lefsetz, and is republished on this blog with written permission of the author.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the name, the New York Post calls him “the most influential man you’ve never heard of.”  With over a quarter million people reading his newsletter, there’s no doubt that people are listening.  Bob Lefsetz’s bio (from his website) reads as follows:

Bob Lefsetz is the author of “The Lefsetz Letter.” Famous for being beholden to no one and speaking the truth, Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.

His intense brilliance captivates readers from Steven Tyler to Rick Nielsen to Bryan Adams to Quincy Jones to EVERYBODY who’s in the music business.

Never boring, always entertaining, Bob’s insights are fueled by his stint as an entertainment business attorney, majordomo of Sanctuary Music’s American division and consultancies to major labels.

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******

AMATEURS

Ask permission.

PROFESSIONALS

Do. Amateurs are afraid they’re going to ruffle feathers, they’re afraid they won’t have success, they want everyone to feel good about them. Professionals know this is an impossibility. Sure, there are amateurs who don’t ask and do heinous things, but they usually don’t even see the landscape to begin with. Decide and then act.

AMATEURS

Manipulate.

PROFESSIONALS

Make their counterparts believe the behavior/solution is to their advantage. No one likes to be manipulated. They don’t mind being influenced, even if it benefits others at the same time. They just don’t want to be a pawn in the game.

AMATEURS

Are all about today.

PROFESSIONALS

Are all about tomorrow. Professionals leave money on the table, they nurture relationships, they know that today’s triumph may not translate into victories tomorrow, that taking a victory lap in the press prematurely is going to backfire and piss people off.

AMATEURS

Love publicity.

PROFESSIONALS

Want to stay out of the news. And if they’re in the news, they like to control the story. Which is why professionals hire expensive PR people, because those PR people know the players, they can influence them and trade horses with them, because they both know they’ll see each other tomorrow.

AMATEURS

Know it all.

PROFESSIONALS

Are always learning. If you don’t learn something important every month, you’re hanging with the wrong people, if you’re hanging with people at all. The web is a fountain of information, but professionals will tell you stuff one on one that they would never put in writing.

AMATEURS

Are about filling up their contacts list.

PROFESSIONALS

Know that it’s who you know, and one key relationship is better than a dozen secondary ones. The pro wants to know the decision maker, the person who can say yes, the CEO of the company, not the head of marketing or development.

AMATEURS

Bitch about the game.

PROFESSIONALS

Play the game, and try to change what they dislike over time.

AMATEURS

Are afraid to bring out the big guns.

PROFESSIONALS

Know when to huff and puff and blow someone else’s house down. The key is to do this consciously, aware of the fallout.

AMATEURS

Boast.

PROFESSIONALS

Don’t talk about their accomplishments unless they come up in the conversation naturally. They don’t need to advertise, they’re already the person.

AMATEURS

Burn the wrong people.

PROFESSIONALS

Burn the right people, if they burn anybody at all. Burning relationships can demonstrate power, but don’t piss off the CEO unless you’ve got a chip to play against them.

AMATEURS

Need to win all the time.

PROFESSIONALS

Know if you never lose, you never really win. If the deal is one-sided, if leverage is overused, it will come back to haunt you.

AMATEURS

Are all flash.

PROFESSIONALS

Are subtle. They fly private, but they don’t tell you. They drive a BMW or a Mercedes, not a Lamborghini. They blend in, they don’t stand out.

AMATEURS

Believe life should be fair.

PROFESSIONALS

Know that life is inherently unfair. And sometimes you have to grease a palm or work a relationship to get what you want.

AMATEURS

Think they’re better than everybody else.

PROFESSIONALS

Never forget where they came from and are aware they can go back there, so they might act entitled, but they usually go out of their way to be nice to the little people.

AMATEURS

Can only see what’s in front of them.

PROFESSIONALS

Are always looking over the hill, around the corner. They’re searching the unknown to see where it’s all going, so they can be prepared when it arrives.

AMATEURS

Think nothing changes.

PROFESSIONALS

Know that everything is constantly changing, they’re not wedded to the past. They don’t lament the death of Main Street and manufacturing, they’re all about the data.

AMATEURS

Put all their eggs in one basket.

PROFESSIONALS

Spread the risk. They know the only person who wins all the time is the one who does not play.

AMATEURS

Have false modesty.

PROFESSIONALS

Own their success. They’re confident.

AMATEURS

Expect to win right away.

PROFESSIONALS

Know that success is elusive and hard fought and that a momentary blip of success at the advent may be just that, momentary.

AMATEURS

Are afraid.

PROFESSIONALS

Are self-assured. They roll with the changes. They don’t get thrown off guard. They’re cerebral. They don’t fly off at the handle. They absorb the loss and figure out how to punch back.


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