I went shopping this weekend for a new car. I entered a few numbers and in a few minutes I could see exactly the Internet Price for 41 specific cars within a hundred miles of me, and my Inbox started filling up with emails from Internet Sales Managers. I can remember just a few years ago this kind of Internet Pricing didn’t exist, and then a few years on how media pontificators would say you could never sell something like a car, or a house on the net.
Now, I can find the Internet Price for anything: my car, my home, a college education, major surgery, you name it.
Plug in the skills you want, the years experience, optional equipment and how you would like me wrapped and there’s dozens of sites where programmers are listed by their Internet Price, some with pictures as nice as those of new cars. Would that be cash, check or charge?
If you’re not a programmer, don’t feel too relieved: there are lots of people hard at work to set your Internet Price, and the day your picture will be looking out of the screen with a Click Now to Purchase link is fast approaching.
So how do you raise your Internet Price? How do you – yes you, reading this post right now – compete in a world where anyone who needs one of you can choose from everyone like you? Here’s what won’t work:
- Drop your price. American programmers can’t match the price of Eastern European programmers who can’t work for what Indian programmers who are getting beat by Chinese Programmers who go nuts when Open Source programmers do it for free!
- Accessorize. Add more degrees, certifications, boot camps, post conference workshops, courses, classes, workshops, continued education classes, online classes, night classes, while you supposedly sleep training classes to the end of your name you have to get a oversized business card. So what? Everyone else with an Internet Price has just as many certs as you do.
In my opinion, here’s what will help you raise your Internet Price:
- Don’t just hold down a job; excel. Slackers are a dime a dozen, and just as replaceable. Whether you flip burgers or man an IT help desk – both jobs I’ve had – how you do what you do matters not just to who you do it for, but hugely matters to your future.
- Create and share value. Whether you’re self employed or work for a company, the more ways you can create value and share that value, the more valuable you are.
- Be passionate. If you hate your job, quit! In all my working years I’ve never met someone who hated their job who was worth a damn at it and I’ve never met anyone who loved their job who wasn’t sought after. You know the part where you were told do something sensible, something respectable, something that you will make good money at? It’s a lie. It’s just that simple.
- Define yourself online. We live at a time when hundreds of millions of people can connect, just by raising their hand and clicking their keyboards. That’s a bigger, more profound change than if tomorrow we can all levitate off the ground any time we want. If you pursue and discover your passions online, you will connect with other passionate people. You can do it by blogging, you can do it be participating in online communities, you can do it any way that works for you. The Internet can set your price and the Internet can make you priceless.
Value, passion and the Internet reverse the trend of treating people like they’re as interchangeable, replaceable and exchangeable parts to be bought and sold at the lowest Internet Price. And I for one am very glad they do!