Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Free Advice

"What do you charge for free advice?"

Charming, I think, simply charming, someone asking for advice, rather than have me dish it out freely in generous quantities.

"10 per cent of anything you make from it, maybe 11, depending on whether I like you ."

"That's a little steep, no?"

"Depends...if you make nothing, you pay nothing...."

"Well...," he breaks off.

Ah, here it comes, I think. Sure enough, the kid does not disappoint.

"I have this business plan, see and it's for this cool technology, first in the world, no one else is even close to doing anything like this..."

He goes on yada yada-ing while I carefully extract my attention. I hum Nella Fantasia under my breath (yes, in Italian) and then, as he is nowhere near done, I hum Pal (yes, in Hindi). I chuckle to myself at a joke Sam told me know the one about Amelele Mobudu? Hehe, funny story, but will tell you some other time.

Finally the young man winds down, looking at me, expectant. Thing is, it's not free advice he wants. It's an introduction. He heard somewhere that I was the hook-up girl, and so, he wants me to hook him up.

Someone with deep pockets. Dumb enough to be impressed by enthusiastic waffle. You know, that sort of thing.

I sigh. This is getting to be a habit among the young and penurious. They come bearing business plans for the latest greatest new new thing. They've got the patter down pat. Thing is, the patter gets old real fast.

I feel my way around it. The usual questions. Value proposition. Investment timeline. Customer base. Barrier to entry. Potential exit strategies.

He gapes. Looks hunted. Slightly resentful. You know, that sort of thing.

"You could afford to be a little more enthusiastic..."

"What's the use? I wouldn't be doing you any favours. Go back and do your homework. And maybe I'll think about hooking you up."

He leaves.

I exhale.

Shhhh....come here, I'll tell you a little secret.

The thing about free advice; it's worth exactly what you pay for it.

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