April 7, 2018

Trophies are cheap

Tomorrow I’m competing in the Ocean State Grand Nationals.

It’s a huge martial arts tournament that happens to take place about 15 minutes from my home.

I don’t expect to walk away with a trophy, but I would certainly much rather bring one home than not.

But why do I care about winning a trophy?

If you’ve never held a trophy, you might be surprised to learn that they’re pretty chintzy in real life.

Cheap plastic and hot glue and maybe a galvanized screw.

You can get a three-pack of them on Amazon for about $28 bucks.


If I want a trophy, why don’t I just buy one?

It’d be a hell of a lot easier to spend ten dollars than to train most every day for three years, get my face and ribs kicked in repeatedly, pull every muscle in my body at one time or another, and then face off against some dude who wants nothing more than to punch me in the face repeatedly at 9am on a Sunday morning.

It’s because I don’t want the trophy itself. I want what the trophy represents. I want the story behind the trophy to be my story, not someone else’s story.

The trophy is like a deliverable. It’s a shorthand that we use to represent a desired outcome.

Because of the way language works, it’s easy to forget that the deliverable itself is cheap and meaningless on its own.

If you want to raise your fees, don’t sell deliverables. Sell the thing behind the deliverable that the client really wants.



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