The Idea Dude


Sunday, October 04, 2009

The subjectivity of value

I was watching a YouTube video about virtual communities called Another Perfect World. Philip Rosedale, founder of Second Life talked about how we have a perceived value of ourselves and others have a different value they place upon us. When the large number of people believe that value to be true then you have great wealth.

It's a sobering thought because that is equally applicable in the real world. It's a paradox really because we are taught not to care about what other people think but to be true to ourselves. Yet it the real world, for us to succeed we have to convince others to agree with our assessment of our value before we have a chance of success.

Think about an interview. On your resume you have state why you would be a valuable player and deserve a particular salary. On the other side, they have to agree with that assessment before they will hire you. Are baseball players more valuable than the president of the United States. Based on their salaries you would believe so. It is truly about market forces. Does it really cost $200,000 to build a sports car and is it really worth 20x that Toyota sitting in your driveway? It is because they made you believe it via marketing and scarcity.

So while it is not wrong to have a high esteem of oneself, it is important to remember that at the end of the day, our job in any interview or meeting is to be able to convey that value and what impact it has on the organization. Most of us do a terrible job at marketing ourselves because we are taught at a young age that is wrong and when we see others do it we think they are vain or precocious.

Sometimes letting our actions speak for ourselves is not enough. It is up to us to be heard and to be proactive in setting the price.

There are always two sides to a mirror, how we see ourselves and how others see us. Unfortunately, the latter in reality is what counts if we want to succeed. That is the absolute reality of charging what the market will bear.


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