Transferring value from one place to another

The other day I had a conversation with a friend and colleague about value. He’s running a business on creating value for people at scale, earning money on Patreon as well as some sponsorships.

We spoke about changing a format of one of the content outputs he has, as well as moving it in behind a paywall. In that conversation he made a point going something like this:

I don’t want to change a winning formula [the format] as well as put it behind a paywall [through patreon]. We have something golden, it’s something that a lot of people appreciate. It’s one of the reasons we have people trusting us through patreon. That value that we create is what we’re selling, and putting it behind a paywall would be to change the value created too much.

The point of the argument, or at least the point that I heard, was that the value created shouldn’t be diminished but rather enhanced if we are to ask people to pay for it.

That’s seemingly reasonable, and made me think about how we consume value. Oftentimes we, consumers, are unaware of what value we’re really paying for. The most apparent case in my own life is my apple products. Rather than paying the high price to get a good product, I’ve caught myself with feeling absurdly good picking my MacBook up in public.

Not because it’s a superior product, but because what it says about me as a person and my identity. I’m buying the apple product because I want to be a creative, a smart consumer and one in the cult.

When we’re talking about businesses creating value, that’s what’s should be in focus. Creating the value that I didn’t know I needed or wanted. Underpromise and overdeliver, at all times and for all values.

In the case for the conversation with my colleague, that’d mean we should create more value on all fronts. Both for patreons, as well as for non-patreons. That’s where we’ll find people wanting to pay for the value.

As for changing the value itself, it’s a game of trying to pick it up. To see what the value the consumers want but don’t know they want, and at the same time provide the value that they know they want.

As Tony Robbins said:

First I need to give my clients what they want, then I can give them what they need.

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