On Capturing Value; my newest mental model

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I’ve found it difficult to figure out why I did not make money (or at least intentionally make money, not counting my lucky breaks) as I expected to, in the old consulting gig.
This, despite the fact, that I knew I was smarter than the average bear when it came to my field of work.

And that same fear still remains[1] as I pivot careers.
I know I’ll pick up stuff with programming.
I know I’ll get fluent.
But will I be able to make a comfortable living?

It’s funny how insights come when you’re least expecting it.
Yet you have to always be listening.

I’m a big Shane Parrish[2] fan, and I ran across an article featuring him on the Growthlab blog today.
As usual, Shane was all about being intentional and doing the work.

But somewhere in the course of the article, he drops this gem …

I learned very quickly there is a difference between the value you create and the value you capture.
If you only create value, you won’t be able to make a living.
If you only capture value, you’ll go out of business.
If I have to err, I choose the side of creating too much value.

And suddenly, lightbulbs go off!
Another thing learnt. A little late in life, but better late than never :)

You see, even my clients privately told me that I could be doing so much better!
And even that did not strike any alarm bells in my head.

All my life, I believed that if I created enough value, people would see it, recognise it; if I built it, they would come.
And in a way they have. I have the loyalest set of clients ever. Folks who’ve stuck by me for nearly 20 years.

So why no money? The first line in that quote there, was my lighbulb moment.

I need to learn to capture value.
I need to learn to figure out how to make the most out of what I get.
Be more opportunistic (in a good way)
It won’t be immediate, but so as long as I’m cognisant of this fact; if I use this little gem as my new mental model to filter stuff that comes my way, I’ll be fine.

The balancing act that Shane talks about isn’t all that hard to do.
It’s already been years of creating value, it’s my default mode.
It’s just time to make the most of it.


  1. or rather remained, until today ↩︎

  2. no secret to the folk who read what I write :) ↩︎