The Call Girl Principle

Sharing a more personal post this evening. I hope you enjoy…

The Call Girl Principle states that the value of services diminishes rapidly once those services have been rendered.

This principle may take many forms. There is a story about a banquet that was thrown after Columbus returned to Spain, having ‘discovered’ the New World. There was a lot of talk that it wasn’t such a big deal after all. Any number of men might have done it.

Columbus asked for an egg and challenged anyone to make the egg stand upright on one end. The egg was passed around. Everyone took their turn, with no one succeeding. Finally the egg was given to Columbus who tapped it lightly on the table, flattening the end, and leaving the egg standing upright.

“Well any of us could have done that!” they said.
“Yes, but I’m the one who actually did it,” said Columbus.

I have my own story. A number of years ago I owned a company that built custom curved staircases. We were called by a builder who had an extra tall staircase, curved and open underneath, with a landing in the middle. He would have his framer build it, he said, but the customer would not accept any bounce in the stair whatsoever. The builder said that the customer did not understand that it would be impossible to build this staircase without there being some bounce.

I was silent as I stood there looking at the area where the stair would go. The builder was intrigued by my lack of affirmation of what he had just said.

“If we build your stair you can walk an elephant up it and it won’t bounce,” I said. This was a little bit of a stretch. I was estimating only a moderately sized elephant and that he wouldn’t be able to get one anyway. The job was ours.

The staircase did indeed turn out to be rock solid, just as stout as could be. After seeing some of the ways in which we strengthened the structure the framer said, “Well we could have done that if we had known how to do it.”

I remembered the Columbus story, and I remembered all the years and the thousands of dollars it took for me to know “how to do it” – and I thought of the Call Girl Principle. I was not about to apologize for the value of our experience. It was why those who are the best – in any field – expect to be paid for it. One may apologize for their weaknesses, but so long as one has humility he need never apologize for his strengths.

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