Why is Value?


One of the important aspects of communication is understanding yourself, including separating “how you feel” from “what you know.”

Here is a good example of this. Last Fall I attended a college ballgame.  I had tickets but it was far from a sell-out game.  Since there were so many tickets for sale by individuals outside the stadium I thought it might be a great chance to get much better seats at a great price.

I overheard one gentleman turn down an offer on his extra tickets.  He also said that he was about to go on inside the stadium.  I watched and as he approached the entrance gate, I asked about his seats.  It turns out they were not in a section I really wanted but they were still much better than my current seats.

I told him which  seats I was really looking for but, since I might not find that, I was willing to pay $20 for his tickets (which was way below face value but way above the street value at that moment).

He just said “no,” then turned and went directly into the stadium with his unused tickets in his pocket.  At that moment the monetary value of his tickets became zero.  They were now unusable and unavailable to anyone.

Yet in his mind, I don’t believe that zero was the current value of the tickets.  In his mind it is likely the value was still the amount he paid for the tickets.  Or at least more than what the street value was at the time.  To take anything less would be, to him, a loss greater than keeping them in his pocket.

Was he right?  Was he wrong?  I would say it totally is a matter of opinion. And a matter of perspective.

How he felt about the value was independent of the value the active (and quantifiable) market around him established.  Yet, he chose a course of action that seemed to ignore the market for reasons that likely made him feel better than his other options.  And he is entitled to do that.  These are his tickets.  Yet I still wonder what his thought process was as he walked into the stadium.

It makes me also wonder, “why is value?”  How often do we really consider why we value something, how we value something, or when we value something?

All of this to simply say, understand the facts of value and separate it from how you feel.  Each can be important but if you avoid confusing the two perspectives, you will have an advantage in how you present value and how you make value-based decisions.



About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.