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Picasso by the Hour ...

Let me tell you a story:

A newly married man met Picasso on a train and was star-struck. They began a conversation and Picasso agreed to paint a portrait of the bride. The man was to pick up the painting in one week.

On the appointed day, the man arrived and was astounded at the beauty of the painting. “It is so beautiful! How much do I owe you, sir?”

Picasso calmly replied, “$10,000.”

“Did you say $10,000?” the man asked. “Yes,” Picasso replied.

So the man took out his checkbook and chuckled as he handed over the check. “It must be nice to earn $10,000 in a week.”

Picasso explained, “Sir, you do not pay me $10,000 to paint a portrait in a week. You pay me for the lifetime it took to be able to paint your wife’s portrait in a week.”

It’s an Old Story

I’ve always loved this little anecdote. As I did some research I learned that this story is told in many different ways. Sometimes it is the married couple that have their likeness painted. Sometimes it is a young lady who meets Picasso in a park and he quickly sketches her in just a few minutes. And, of course, the cash amounts change as often as the other details.

Still, regardless of who the story features, the setting, the time it takes Picasso, or the price, there is one constant theme that endures.

Picasso’s Policy

So what does Picasso and a bride’s portrait or a young lady’s sketch have to do with anything, especially CAD, your career, or your business? It actually has quite a bit to do with all of those.

Picasso was a legendary figure in art. He was an acclaimed pioneer and iconic thinker. And he sold his product to an audience that was largely illiterate in the methods of the medium. He was an artist … an artist that had to make a living.

The Real Product He (We) Sell

Picasso charged for his work. But he didn’t charge by the hour. He did not work for the lowest possible bid. His fees were, in this tale at least, based on a lifetime of effort. He sold more than art.

Canvas and paint were actually byproducts of Picasso’s real product: his experience. And experience, those thousands of hours of effort and practice and innovation, that is what Picasso wanted to be compensated for.

So, what are you charging for? Are you selling the time of your life for the cheapest rate? Or are you selling a lifetime of experience at a fair rate? And … what does this still have to do with CAD?

I’ll tell you … in the next post …

- KFD- 

Image credits: Public domain and Chris Dlugosz

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