Should we just give it away? A good friend of mine Tom LaRotonda sent me a Ted Talk the other night by Amanda Palmer. She has been a singer in a variety of bands including the Dresden Dolls. Her video was on the Art of Asking. But I think it really showed the value of Connecting.
She tells the story of how she used to be a street performer, earning the change thrown into a hat during the day, in order to supplement the bands income. She was able to predict how much money she could make depending upon the day; Fridays were better than Tuesdays for example. Like any good business person she knew her numbers.
She determined that what made the exchange of money work for her was the intimate connection she made with the people that dropped money in the hat; a connection that said “I see you, I appreciate you.”
In one project she is giving away her music for free and then asking help from her fans. She recently raised over a million dollars on Kickstarter when her “ask” was for $100,000. The point of her TED talk was “is it possible to give “it” away and ask for our loyal fans to support us?”
At the Denver Airport they have charged $5.00 for a shoe shine since at least 2000 . Last year they changed to a “pay whatever you want” philosophy. I have watched the tips go they used to be $1 – $2. Now I see people paying $10 – $20 for a shoe shine. As a part of the shine they also connect with the customer (who isn’t too busy head down in their iPhone). That connection is part of the value exchange.
As I look around I see more business testing this “pay what you can, pay what you think the value is; and they seem to be succeeding. Panera Breads has a few Cafes’ where they offer a pay as you can, or offer to work it off and they make as much as the stores that charge price list.
What do you think this portends in the new “Sharing” economy?