For most of my adult life, I have believed that I will be compensated in direct proportion to the value I provide. People will pay for things they value, so if I put in the work and deliver valuable things, I ought to be paid a fraction of that value.
In a perfect exchange, I would receive exactly as much compensation as the value I provide. However, most good shoppers are looking for deals. They want to get more value than they are paying for. An ethical sales strategy is to point out all of the aspects that might be of value. As the perceived value goes up, the buyer becomes willing to pay more, getting closer to the perfect exchange.
The lazy part of me wants the compensation-to-value ratio to skew in my favor. That is, I would love to be paid more than the value I give. While this is possible (consider extreme examples like welfare or stealing), that kind of situation is does not lead to a sustainable, positive lifestyle.
When the buyer pays too much, the exchange is out of balance. Not getting the expected value, the savvy buyer will feel cheated. She will either return to demand a refund or never return. Regardless, she will only mention you to her friends as a conniving villain, not quite the referral you were hoping for.
Over promising, under delivering, or being deceptive in any way are value problems that lead to over compensation and erode trust. That is why I try to ignore the lazy part of me.
Instead, I get to my desk every day and work on things that others will value, someday. People like to play games. Many like to create games. Writers need to find popular outlets for their work. Collaboration allows groups to create things that are more valuable than when people work alone. By providing a safe, nurturing place to create and play, I intend to bring value to millions.
Here’s the math. Say I can bring an average of $25 of value to a million people. Even if they are only willing to paying $20 each, that’s a pretty good exchange. How to provide such a massive amount of value is the trick.
Or if I could sell just one bridge…