There are a lot of ‘what’s in it for me’ strategies out there, and they are usually run by ‘what’s in it for me’ people. Right now AIG feels a lot like this, as do seven- and eight-figure bonuses at firms that received government bailout money.
Unfortunately, ‘what’s in it for me’ strategies do work to a point. You get the big paycheck after posting record losses, you make a pile of money spamming or interrupting people or just generally being slightly misleading as your core customer acquisition strategy.
So what’s wrong with a ‘what’s in it for me’ strategy? It’s that it absolutely, positively guarantees that you won’t create something great. Which forces you to ask yourself, “why am I doing this in the first place?”
2 thoughts on “What’s in it for me?”
…or as the Great Hillel the Elder was fond of saying (Mishnah, Avot ch.1):
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? Yet, if I am only for myself, what am I?
This recognises that you do have to have some self motivation and create your own success. You can’t run on pure altruism because no one will be there making sure you get something in return for the value you provide.
On the other hand, he closes with the question that you ask – if I’m only in it for myself, then what am I? In other words self-service can’t be the goal in itself.
Simon, thank you for sharing this wisdom. Truly.