Practitioners vs. Pundits

I was recently listening to Gary Vaynerchuk speak about being a practitioner. This got my mind turning as Gary went on to tell his story about before he ever launched his personal brand as Gary Vee, he hustled building his family’s wine business from $3MM to excess of $50MM in less than a decade. He first became a practitioner of building businesses which in return verified his authority as an entrepreneurial voice. This story really resonated with me as I started to evaluate everyone that I’ve considered an authority on certain subjects, and I began to break them down into two groups — practitioners and pundits.

Let’s look at the Merram-Webster definition of both.

Practitioner — a person who regularly does an activity that requires skill or practice
Pundit — a person who knows a lot about a particular subject and who expresses ideas and opinions about that subject publicly

Now, to me, if I wanted to learn bowling, sales or social media then I would go find the practitioners who are great in their field to learn from. For example, people shouldn’t go ask broke people how to accumulate wealth. They should find the people that have proven that they have the skills to accomplish their objectives. Our airways are filled with pundits, who most considered to be ‘learned people,’ have nothing but book knowledge. Please don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say here as I believe book knowledge is important, but nothing, and I mean nothing, takes the place of experience that helps develop a skill set.

Pundits have created a vacuum of people that can’t figure out why the advice they’ve received isn’t working for them. It happens all the time. Now, there are some practitioners that are also pundits, but we normally know their background of success beforehand. In this day and age of information, it’s easy for anyone to produce content on subjects and then they start labeling themselves as an expert or guru. Be careful when deciding who to get advice from, including the “business experts” on television, YouTube, or radio. More practitioners need to come forward with their voice to breakthrough the noise.

When listening to someone speak on a topic, compare and decide if that is someone that is a practitioner and is baptized by fire, or a pundit that is only regurgitating what they heard or read from somewhere else.

Thanks for reading.


Based in Austin, Texas, Matthew Feltner works as a risk consultant and is genuinely emphatic about life. He’s married to a goddess and is co-creator of three beautiful children. His posts explore the topics of business, sales, leadership and insurance & risk management.

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