Why This Model?

 

Contents

  1. Why No Other Model Works
    The work I do is too important:

    1. To give it anything but my undivided attention.
    2. For my direction to be decided by what will bring me income rather than what’s the most significant thing I can do in the moment.
    3. To limit access to it based o who can afford to pay for it.
    4. My work has benefited too much from, and depends too much on, those outside myself for me to claim my work my “property” and to keep it to myself under the condition I benefit from it directly.
  2. Influences

Why No Other Model Works

1. The work I do is too important to give it anything but my undivided attention.

Many persons question my decision to walk away from my business and put full focus into my social development efforts especially since there’s no revenue generation inbuilt. They’ve asked why I couldn’t do the two (as I had been doing for eight years). The answer is:

There have been periods where I’ve done little work on my social development efforts because I was taken up with my company.[1]

  • I’ve seen well-intentioned initiatives treated as side projects so much so they no longer exist.
  • I’ve missed excellent opportunities to move my efforts forward, because my time was split between these efforts and my company.
  • I’ve seen how many of the organizations that exist (and have existed) are ineffective because they spend more time in “activity” than in understanding, which can really advance a cause in more invaluable ways.

Things will never change until the causes we care about become first priority rather than extracurricular activities. That’s why I’ve made my efforts my priority.

2. My work is too important for my direction to be decided by what will bring me income rather than what’s the most significant thing I can do in the moment.

What is the most significant thing you can do in this Monet? Ask that question in any given moment and see how the answer fairs against what is actually being done.

  • Which project to take on
  • Which client to see
  • What gets our focus
  • What’s our day job
  • What’s done after hours

All  have a great deal to do with money.

Time isn’t money as they say. Time is life. Payment shouldn’t dictate how we spend it. The way we spend our time should be rewarding in itself. It’s not money but implementation itself that is the reward for working on a project.

  • I also can’t decide who to collaborate with or where to present, based on payment.
  • I can’t let money dictate  what I can or cannot say or do for concern it will hurt sponsorship.
  • I can’t let the way supporters respond to my work dictate what I create whether it’s doing what they respond well to or discontinuing what they don’t seem to want.

Guided by what’s most significant, anything that conflicts with that is a problem.

3. My work is too important to limit access to it based on who can afford to pay for it.

While it’s free of cost, my work  is available to 100% of the people who can access it. Should it carry a cost, it would only be available to those who earn enough to be able to afford it. Then there’s the question of whose financial responsibilities allow them to make a purchase. In charging, there are nothing but limits for others and potential benefits for me (but that’s too high a cost).

You might say the more I have, the more I can do for others. That’s absolutely true (materially)! But choosing to make my work free means there are no hurdles (on my end) to having persons access it. It’s important to note that what limits exist, exist because of the very ways of doing things that I am challenging by making my work free.

My work is far too important, far too intrinsically valuable, for me to limit access to anyone. This despite those who can afford to pay for it but will choose not to, and those who will make use of the programmes I have for earning revenue and won’t concern themselves with ensuring I’m taken care of because I’m not obligating them to do so with licensing fees etc.

I can limit who can access my work with fees but in that (perhaps) tiny percent of the population who may not be able to afford it for whatever reason, there will be even one on the path I’m on, who desperately needs the tools and understanding I can offer to help them shoulder the responsibilities we all ought to. The possibility (likelihood even) of such an avoidable hindrance is a cost that’s far too high for me to add a price to my work.

4. My work has benefited too much from, and depends too much on, those outside myself for me to claim my work my “property” and to keep it to myself under the condition I benefit from it directly.

I’m too aware of the many things that made me me and the legacy of everyone from teachers and authors, film-makers and artistes that informed my thinking and abilities, to think myself “self-made”. I don’t just owe my thinking to artistes like Lupe Fiasco; I owe it, for instance, to anime artistes who influenced his thinking through their depictions, the parents of those artistes, their teachers, the individuals who provoked their thinking. I listen to lectures and watch talks online and owe my understanding not only to these thinkers but the thinkers that influenced them too — scholars whose work they still reference.

My own path has been one of observation and inquiry. I owe my understanding most notably to the people that constituted my experience (directly and indirectly). With whom do I begin? Why won’t they directly benefit from me and why if we’re so bent on people being paid for value created. While my work may be highly regarded, their contribution to that work isn’t often considered.

I made my living in brand design.

  • What if I had to pay for every source of inspiration?
  • Who do I pay when those sources were nature?
  • What if every font came at a price?
  • What if I had to pay the inventor of a camera every time I used it, like radio stations have to pay everytime they play a song?
  • Why do technicians get paid only once for their work while artistes can profit perpetually as mentioned?

The argument is how much value an artiste creates — how many people use or benefit from their work. But if benefit is the measurement, shouldn’t teachers be the most highly compensated?

We’re measuring value based on units sold and direct benefit, in a world where direct impact is minimal whereas every action has some consequence that indirectly affects everyone because all things affect the whole.

We are like cells in a body and everything we do should benefit the body, which in turn benefits us. All of society ‘s issues stem from us seeing ourselves as the end all.


Influences

Experiences play a key role in shaping how we think. You’d think that a non-traditional view like as mine on money resulted from a collection of extraordinary experiences; I can’t say it did. It was an uncommon inquiry into ordinary experiences that led me here.

We tend to speak of capitalism as the best possible socioeconomic system. For lack of evidence to the contrary, I’ll accept it is the best we’ve had. What it isn’t however, is the best we can ever have. From that starting point I allowed myself to identify issues with money. And these led me to to decide I can’t contribute to the problems it creates.

While many well-meaning people think about and even plan for the day they can “give back”, there’s no amount of money that can undo the damage of contributing to the way things are as a result of money. Three of the most powerful realizations that informed my perspective were:

  1. Money creates a barrier of access.
    • Those who can’t afford it can’t have it even if they need it most.
    • While the majority may be able to pay for a piece of content, for example, it may be the person who is unable to pay that may make the most use of it.
    • Intellectual property constructs restrict access to individuals based on their location and this has the same effect as the bullet point immediately above.
  2. Non-profit organizations and social businesses are just as dependent on money as for-profits.
    • Non-profit organizations compromise their cause for the sake of money.  This they do in order to continue to fund their cause but what is the purpose of championing a cause you must only partly defend because your funding depends on it.
      • While not the main focus of the documentary Cowspiracy, it was one of the most awakening lessons from that film and about advocacy in general.
  3. Even giving hurts in this system of things
    • For example giving to a country can cripple its economy and leave people worse off than they were before.
      • This and more staggering facts about the problems of non-profits are explored in an exceptional manner in the documentary Poverty Inc.

No cause that starts from a place of accepting the current way of doing things can ever fully realize its ideal. This is because all efforts should be geared toward completely doing away with the problem in question. But what then?

Businesses and organizations are made to “address problems”. If there’s no problem, there no purpose. We can always be sure there will be problems that need solving or improvements to be made. The question is whether the problem would be sufficiently complex or the need for improvement so urgent that people would pay for it. This is why aim so low in fully eradicating problems, lest we not be needed also.

I can’t live a life without purpose, nor can I aim to only sufficiently address issues within my domain of control. My decision not to make money a necessity in the work I do means that the ultimate moving away from money as I argue we do and I aim for us eventually doing, will not affect my work. This ought to be the way all organizations operate — businesses included.[2]

This decision doesn’t automagically mean I’m no longer dependent on money. I’m still as dependent as the next guy. But relying on voluntary gifts versus demanding pay is a paradigm-shifting stance that serves to free me from the barriers others cannot overcome[3] and begins an evolution of thought that will see gifting be the new paradigm.[4]

Notes

  1. See “Put Your Body Where Your Mouth Is
  2. See Telos: The Truth.
  3. It makes me for more vulnerable but that is the trade off.
  4. I don’t expect to see this paradigm in my lifetime but these are the seeds for it.

“The High Cost of Any Price”

Explore this original series for experiences that informed my position on money.

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