Question 88 of 365: What are we worth?

We are never so crass as to boil down a person to a dollar amount. To do that would be to establish the idea that a person could be purchased, rented, or otherwise commodified. And, we don’t do that.

Instead, we valuate ideas. We put a price tag on companies and contributions. We create elaborate systems for payment by the hour or contracts that seemingly stretch on forever and bind us to a given bank account in perpetuity.

Even then, we are a little squeamish about what we are worth. Everything is a negotiation about where the scales should actually end up. We press down hard with our thumbs on one side sometimes and other times we lift up that side just to show how fair we can really be.

So, what if someone was going to invest in You? What if they said that you needed to look at your own projections for the next 10 years and come up with a number of just how much your ideas and contributions are going to be worth. Then, they were going to buy a percentage stake in you and give you a term sheet for their rate of return.

Would that make us more comfortable with the process of figuring out what our first round of funding should really look like?

Many times we obfuscate our worth by eschewing a simple cash valuation of what we have to offer. Now, I am not referring to net worth or liquidity, but rather taking a good hard look at all that I have created and the things we are yet to create. We could easily make projections of this kind and garner support in the form of investors. But we don’t, at least not in any systematic way.

We ask people to invest in us as social beings. We ask others to work with us to raise buy-in capital. We even seem to be quite adept at establishing worth in salaries and benefits. But, many of us would not equate our salary with our worth.

So, perhaps there is another way to determine our worth, while still preserving the sense that we cannot possibly know how much a human is capable (in a monetary sense). What if everyone took the time to valuate their best idea (and keep on assessing it over time)? What if we all could pitch this idea to those with deep pockets and ask for investment? What if we got that investment and actually put that money toward making that idea come true? What if we didn’t hide behind being a non-profit, public, or altruistic institution (or even a business with overly optimistic projections), but put the ideas out to be bid on and get provide real dividends to anyone willing to participate.

So, I guess I will put this out there as is:

I believe my best idea is worth $550,000. I am looking for a $250,000 of further investment. Anyone interested?

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