Whenever asked which matters more - training or experience, often experience is cited as the one that people think is the most necessary to succeed. Of course a lot depends on the circumstances, if I was about to have a life changing surgery I'd hope the medical professionals had been trained, of course I would also hope they were very experienced. Thankfully what we do isn't on the whole life-or-death, but the same principles can be applied, although I'd like to add a third part to the triangle for creative pursuits and that is talent, or as some say gifting.
The hindrance of experience, is that over time it can become at best tradition or at worst dogma, without realising it can even become a set of unwritten rules that we apply without considering alternatives. You'll see it a lot in any walk of life, from the creative arts to business to the religious. You'll hear people using expressions like 'we've always done it that way' or 'that's the way it's done.'
'Let me be clear... our new approach didn't make us better, it simply made us different and sometimes different is what is needed.'
When I first started the Pro Tools blog 8 years ago I had no experience of running a web site. People used to comment that it was terrible journalism, of course it was as I'm not a trained journalist. I was also often being told that the blog was different from other established news sites, that it didn't keep the rules; I didn't know the rules. No one on our teams knows the rules of established journalism, 8 years later on and it doesn't seem to have done us any harm. Yes we have made mistakes, a lot of what is now on the blogs developed from experiments, we tried things and then ditched them if they didn't work. You may have sometimes thought 'what happened to that?' about a certain part of the blogs, that was probably an experiment that didn't work. We were fortunate we didn't have years of established ideas or industry received wisdom that has made some other sites so popular. Let me be clear... our new approach didn't make us better, it simply made us different and sometimes different is what is needed.
Over the years it's helped us to grow the team, it takes a special kind of person to be part of our teams, most start with little experience of blogging... but they bring experience as a professional user, passion and a willingness to serve the community. Ask any of them and they will tell you they don't get a lot of guidance about writing, they get some technical support and guidance on our core values and that's about it, not all people make it in an environment like this. Right now we've never had a better team serving the creative communities, I'm enormously proud of them.
'Some of the greatest musical moments in recording history happened because someone decided to break convention'
If you have a good idea and the talent but little experience of how most people would do it, or don't know 'the right way to do it' then you may have the edge to make a real difference. You'll find a lot of websites, forums and blogs (including this one) telling you how something could be done, but we are simply sharing experience and wisdom, in many cases it's going to be right...
BUT! What if you try and do it another way? How about doing it without applying the established industry methods or traditions. Even for some of the most experienced some of the greatest musical moments in recording history happened because someone with experience decided to break convention. Brian Wilson did just that with his 'Pet Sounds' album, regarded by many music historians as the first concept album. Or how about using the gear in an unintended way, like the team at Townhouse Studios did when they inadvertently created the gated drum reverb sound using the SSL gates in a way they were never meant to be used.
Experience is an essential part of us being able to offer consistent results, but sometimes it can be a hindrance to progress. So if you are talented and passionate and filled with ideas then don't let you lack of experience stop you from trying out ideas, your lack of experience may be the thing that gives you the edge.