Moratorium Day: No more free consulting
A thought that pops up as a result of some of the conversations I had at DUX:
Recently I sat down in my garden for a conversation with a charming young lady, who proceeded to videotape me holding forth in response to her questions for an hour and a half or so. The young lady in question works for a Northern European management consultancy with a futurist bent, and our conversation ranged fairly widely over a subject that’s well worth delving into: whether men and women might have differential responses to emergent ubiquitous technology in the home.
I was delighted to see this question on the consultancy’s radar, and perfectly happy to offer whatever insight I could. But when I asked – stupidly, after the entire discussion was in the can – when I’d be able to see the final report, I was told that I wouldn’t…that it would be proprietary.
However inappropriate I may feel this to be, in this instance, there’s no question that my frustration is purely my own fault. If there had been any conditions whatsoever on my participation, I obviously should have stipulated them prior to making an appointment.
And that’s just what I’m about to do.
It’s past time for me to draw this line: with all due respect, unless you are a nonprofit, a penniless student, or something very similar, please don’t ask me for my time without being prepared to offer something of equal value to me in return. (Particularly don’t do this if you work for a company with a $100 billion market capitalization.) I hate to sound like Hannibal Lecter, but there has to be some quid pro quo, some consideration offered in return for my insight. Full, pre-release access to the white paper built on your conversation with me, a free unit of whatever widget you intend to design: like that. I’m sorry, “being flattered that you’ve asked for my opinion” does not count as consideration.
If not, well…my consulting rates are available on request. Please don’t put me in the awkward position of being the bad guy and having to spell out why I’m saying “no” to you. Thanks for your understanding.