Every day we wake up to the world. The world which more and more is dividing rich and poor. The world where media claims that 85 richest people own as much money as 3.5 billion poorest. The world that is heading to inevitable disaster. Finally, the world I don’t like to live in.
Let me explain you my subjective view on economy. Back in 1987, only 27 years ago, there were only two people in the world whose wealth was more than 10 billion american dollars. I know, that was way before the internet boom. But I always see 20th century as the century of work and social commitment. Everyone, no matter where in the world, tried to fulfil their “american dream” of having a job, a house, family and holidays from time to time. Since then the world turned upside down. There’s still heaps of people dreaming about their house, family and a good job. But we also have people who own 2 houses, go for expensive holidays three times a year and complain when they don’t get a decent bonus at work. Back in the days we had visionaries, businessman, and different levels of working class.
What we have today? We have people hungry for success. But not success of world’s development. Not success for society, no. Most of the people in the world these days simply want to be rich. No matter how. I wanted to be rich, blame me too. I was the one having everything, heaps of money, a good job, holidays few times in a year, and I was very young on top of that. But then the reflection comes and you think – sure I could win 10 million dollars in lotto… What would I do with this money? Buy a car? A house? Another car? Go around the world… What for? What would be my reason for existence? What would be my reason to live and how would I change the world? How would I become a visionary like people back in 20th century?
Money surrounds us everywhere. When Maslow created his vision of needs he thought about happiness. Today on the very bottom of his pyramid we’d have money. Nothing else. We wait for salary every week/month, we look at prices when we buy food, we save up to buy the latest technology gadgets. The more we need money, the more dependant on it we are and the less purposeful the world in my eyes is. We lost our vision and I blame the thing I love, the thing I live in – digital world.
Look at Facebook. When Zuckenberg started Facebook at one point he said “‘We would much rather have people meet people through the website than stay at home on a Friday night reading other people’s profiles.” 10 years later Facebook is far away from its original vision. Some people would say “good for him, he made a stack of money”, but I say “Mark, look back and tell me – is that really what you wanted to create?”. Facebook is all about money now, there’s hardly any content there and it indeed makes us antisocial in real life.
That’s just a simple example of hundreds, thousands of digital projects that are created to fulfil some need but then the idea is quickly abandoned by a need of making money, making investors happy and owners rich.
So here I am, unhappy with where the world is heading and deciding to add my 2 cents. I’m starting a price war. Why? Because Google doesn’t need $15 per click on an ad to make another billion of profit. Because iPhone doesn’t need to cost $1100 to make another ridiculous number of revenue. Finally, because a website doesn’t need to cost tens of thousands of dollars, and an hour of a digital specialist’s time doesn’t have to cost $500.
I created my small business 4 years ago. I earn less than any employee in my company. In fact I earn about 4 times less than I was offered one time for my experience. I often undercharge my customers to give them ability to grow and build their own business in digital world. Why? Because I believe that I can change the world. I believe that my company’s hourly rate doesn’t have to be 20 times my employee hourly rate. I believe that digital change doesn’t have to be about money but about making everyone’s life easier, the environment more friendly and the world – smaller. Because with your website you can connect businesses wherever you want. And the truth is you can do it whether it’s $5k website or $200k website.
And here’s my appeal to all business owners. We all increased our charges at some point in history of the company. But did you ever, and I mean ever consider dropping your rates? Did you think – hey I earn so much money that I barely can spend it. Maybe I shouldn’t give myself a bonus this year. Or “hey, we actually spend so much money on unnecessary things, maybe we can change it, save money and get our next customer a bargain price”. Maybe that customer will save money and will charge less to the next company. And maybe, just maybe one day when we need to buy a product, that company will come to us and charge us less, because they don’t need that much money.
Bottom line – I know I’m idealist. I’m fighting the war I won’t win myself. But I’m happy. I’m happy with what I have, how I work and how I can make things better for less. I’m happy that I annoy my competition sometimes and they have to drop their prices too. But then they stretch their work and understand that they can do it for that much. I’m happy with my business. And I’m happy that there’s so many people around me who help me doing what I do and what I love. Thank you everyone.
First they ignore you, then they ridicule you,
then they fight you, and then you win.