Pay What You Want

Do you ever wonder what your clients think you are worth? I mean, what its really worth - not just what the market generally prices similar services.  

In December, I read an article about 8k, a Polish branding and design firm testing PWYW.
Pay What You Want (PWYW) is a payment system where the client decides how much the service or the product is worth. If you are happy, you can pay a lot, but if you are not, you can pay less.
I was intrigued - so I  decided to test it out with my personal brand. 8k offers limited services under the PWYW model, so I opted for something straightforward: a logo. 

First I read their five rules, which included items like "you will need to explain why you are paying what you are paying" and "you will probably only get one design. But the design will be as good as it should be."

Next, I filled out the design brief, laboring over the best way to communication my brand and design preferences. I submitted the brief. And then...silence.

I didn't hear anything for a few weeks. At some point, I actually forgot about it. And then, I got an email.
It took some time, but we have a dazzling logo for you! We hope that you will love them like we did!

I sent an email, requesting clarification of the next step - which was to evaluate the work and indicate how much I was willing to pay. I chose to pay the current average (rather than more) because of the lack of communication throughout the process. Although my preference would be for more communication, I would have paid more if 8k set expectations of minimal communication up front. 

It isn't surprising that I value process and service over results. This is bigger than me, though. For most people, participation often creates alignments with results. We are satisfied with the opportunity to voice an opinion during discussion. Even if we don't originally agree with the final the decision, we can buy into it.

While 8k tried to communicate their process, it was after the fact. And I wasn't part of it. Although I am happy that they didn't have to kill any flies.

How can this relate to building design and construction? There is an obvious tie to user engagement. But users don't typically determine compensation. Some integrated team are being rewarded based on building performance and aesthetics. But how does process factor into compensation? Is it a coincidence that innovative economic models are coupled with collaborative delivery and contracts?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the PWYW model and our industry. What should I have paid? And now that I have, what should I do with this logo? Leave a note in the comments or tweet to me!

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