I Would Rather Talk to Practitioners


In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is. ~ Yogi Berra

We have never lived in such a time as we do today where there is no end to information being put out into the world. It’s overwhelming and daunting for sure.

One of the strategies to survive is to limit your friends, followers, feeds and focus. You can also trust curators that align with your interests and worldviews.

However, we are still drowning. Anyone with a connection and an opinion can put their view out there for the world and the internet will record and broadcast it. It’s up to us as consumers of content and opinions to decipher the credibility and usefulness of what we take in.

I come from an intellectual background. I have a graduate degree in engineering and have studied, read and thought a lot about a variety of topics.

However, at the end of the day, ideas are worthless if they don’t stand up to the mirror of reality. The brutal immovability of reality gut checks me every day. Sure, I can believe that business deals should be done with a maximum payout to me, perhaps 3x what the market dictates. But reality will remind me that what’s in my head and what comes out of people’s wallets will be mismatched. I can insist, but it doesn’t matter.

Theory is one thing and practice is another indeed. It’s why I like to observe, learn and keep aligning as much as I can towards what the practice of business tells me.

The academic, intellectual and non-practitioner can remain sheltered and push what they think should happen out there all they want. I don’t respect it and I ignore such pontifications if it doesn’t match up to practice. I respect risk-taking. I like seeing someone whose ideas come about because they are empiricists and have tested what they believe against everyday life and experiences.

You can lose your shirt today if you are not careful to be discerning about the viewpoints of people that don’t have skin in the game or are not practitioners. Some simple things:

Has the person talking about business done business?

Does the ranting political analyst live with the consequences of their policies?

Is there a moral arrogance in a political, religious or societal commentary?

The messenger matters a great deal and if they are not a practitioner then shame on us if we buy the theory and don’t look at the practice.

Being a practitioner ensures you stay humble. How can I advise on things I don’t know work or not? Sure, I can rely on intellectualism, but time and experience have a way of shedding light on us all. Our ideas either work or don’t work.

Be sure to check who is putting the message out there. They know something works because they took risk on what they are saying. Trust the practitioner because they have the scars on their back to prove their convictions.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

3 thoughts on “I Would Rather Talk to Practitioners

  1. Don – WOW! One of your best articles. EVER! One of the best articles by anyone on this topic. EVER!
    This is info I will definitely share and implement! Thanks for being generous with your wisdom! What book is that quote from on the Kindle?

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