The Money Maximization Distraction
Seth Godin's Blog, August 4th, 2017
The Rolling Stones have grossed more than a billion dollars in ticket sales and endorsements. Does that mean that they're better than Beethoven, John Adams and Zoe Keating, put together? Were the Bay City Rollers better than Patti Smith?
There are CEOs who make more in a year than 1,000 of their workers. Does that mean that they're 1,000 times more important or productive or worthwhile?
Money is a simple metric, and one that captures a certain sort of information about value and scarcity. But it's wildly inaccurate when it comes to measuring many of the things that actually matter to us. It can mask the emotions and moments and contributions that we work so hard on, the people that we seek to become, the contributions that we seek to make.
Profitable is not the same as important
Popular is the not the same as worthwhile
Expensive is not the same as well-done
And yet, because it's easy to rank and compare and change, we can get seduced into believing that money is the metric that matters the most, that matters all the time. If we only use money to make our decisions about worth, we're going to get it wrong almost every time.
Until we get significantly better at matching money to contribution, we need to embrace the difficult to measure. I'll trade you a great fourth grade teacher for a foreign exchange desk currency trader any day.