075. Craig Constantine: The value of trade

Episode summary

Craig (250)

Craig discusses thinking of interactions as trades of value, whether or not money is used in the process. He explains how we trade directly and indirectly with others daily, and the effects of bringing third parties into trades. Craig talks about ways to trade directly with Movers Mindset; online, offline or by supporting the project financially.


Hello, it’s Craig. Welcome to the Movers Mindset podcast. Today it’s just me. We’ll be back on Wednesday with another interview.

I want to share an idea with you that I have found helpful in thinking about my interactions with other people and with communities. The idea is that each interaction is a trade. Framing my interaction as trades with other individuals, has helped me monitor my behavior so that I behave fairly and justly, in a way that I don’t exploit others or allow them to exploit me. I find that understanding the trade helps me to appreciate others and ultimately be happier because I am more aware of the range of values that other people provide. A lot of trade involves the exchange of money for a good or a service, but this can confuse the issue. To understand the real value involved, it helps to think about the other values that go into the trade.

Throughout your day, you’ll make a lot of choices that involve trading value with other people. Sometimes it’s not clear whom you are trading with, and you’ll have varying amounts of negotiating power; when you pay the bus fare to a privately-owned bus company contracted by your city to operate your public transit system, you have no real power in that trade. You can only take the bus or not. When you buy food at a grocery store, if feels more clear whom you are trading with—the grocery store. But you know that the store bought all the groceries from a wide array of suppliers and you can’t interact with them directly to negotiate prices. Here again it’s pretty much take it or leave it.

It is still helpful to realize that your trade at the grocery store is more than just giving a few dollars for cheese. It involves getting value from a bunch of individuals indirectly; from the farmer, the truck driver who moved the cheese, the store owner who created a place to trade, and even the cashier who completes the trade by taking your money. Sometimes, it’s very clear whom you are trading with. If you buy handcrafted jewelry from an artist, then you know they took raw materials, modified them with their own skills, and imagination, and you are trading directly with that person.

Another subtle idea with trade is equity and fairness. Equity in trades is a key idea to make sure that things are fair and just, and that people on both sides of the trade are decent and honorable.

Have you ever felt guilty or obligated when someone gives you something or does a favor for you. This is your sense of justice alerting you that there may be an imbalance in the trade. If you feel obligated to buy a product because you tried a free sample, that is this principle at work. The important idea here is that the people on both sides of the trade should feel that they get value from the trade, and that they deserve the value that they get.

There’s a broad range of ways that you trade with others, constantly, every day. Sometimes you have the power to negotiate and sometimes you have no power beyond saying yes or no. If you say no, then you’ve chosen to not trade. If you say yes, depending on the power dynamics, you may be able to negotiate the terms of the trade.

You know intuitively that Movers Mindset isn’t free for us to create. You probably expect that there’s some sort of intangible entity involved that handles the money, taxes, accounting and the nuts and bolts of getting things done. But you also know that it’s not a very complex setup. It’s basically me, and a few other people, working together with various tools, to create the things you see and hear. And of course those same things are true for all the other traders you deal with during your day—the bus company, the grocer, and the artisanal jeweler. You’re trading with people who used raw materials, tools and their minds to create value.

So what should you do? Well, that’s your choice, and that’s what this episode is about.

You should not—just because I say so—run to our payment system and pay. I bet you were expecting me to say you should run to the payment system. No, what you should do is think—always, everywhere, not just with Movers Mindset… What you should do is think about what you are trading, what you are spending, what you are creating, and even what you are destroying.

You may have wondered why it is free to listen to the podcast. It’s completely possible for me to take everything behind a pay-wall. But there are very specific reasons why I don’t. The biggest reason is that, if I did, it would be impossible for people to get a little bit of value out. Lots of people only listen to one episode—their friend told them about a particular interview, or some other strange Venn diagram reason that just one of our episode’s interests Joe Random Listener. The fact that they can listen to that one episode is terrific! I get really excited—that’s one of my values—about those little, random connections where we’ve managed to help someone, spark some idea, or catalyze some change. There’s so much spontaneity and randomness that would be lost if everything were locked behind a pay-wall.

Now, I want to be really clear here: I do not want to guilt you into paying. Having you feel guilt is of no benefit to me, to you or to anyone. What I’m asking, is that you think about what values you are getting from Movers Mindset. How does it benefit you? How does it make your life better?

The fact that people listen to the podcast is a value to me. It certainly means more to me if a lot of people listen to an episode, but that is an intangible value. This value gives me motivation to continue, because I know my work is appreciated and valued by others. However, I cannot trade that motivation or intangible value with others to get the resources I need to keep the podcast going.

Currently, the podcast is a product of our generosity, made possible with funding obtained through other employment. Movers Mindset exists because of the time we spent employed elsewhere. What would happen if we could devote our full time and attention to the project? Would it become something more valuable, something truly transformative? For that to happen, we need to find a way to make the project self-sustaining.

Hopefully, you’ve just thought, “Craig, put ads in the podcast like everyone else. Then advertisers will pay you because I am listening.”

To which I would reply: Why can’t you and I trade directly?

Why should you and I need to bring in an advertiser, a 3rd party, to make this work? The answer is, of course, that it’s not a requirement that we bring in that 3rd party. We can totally just trade value directly—you, me, everyone… we all do that, all day, every day. We trade value with our peers. Certainly, there’s a lot of 3-party trading going on too: billboards, ads on web sites, and every single pixel on every single social network is powered by 3-party trades.

For Movers Mindset all I wanted to do was have cool conversations. Movers Mindset grew out of my desire to share those conversations with you. Bringing in advertisers just makes everything more complicated, it’s far from easy, and is in fact unlikely to work for this tiny little project. So I just want to have cool conversations, and trade some value directly with you, the listener.

If you’re interested, here are four way to trade directly with us.

One: You can trade your time and online social reputation by talking about and sharing Movers Mindset. There are a bunch of ways to do that: Liking and sharing our social posts, leaving podcast reviews, and telling others about us in various mediums. There are lots of online activities that help us a little bit with each action you take. If you’re going this route, you’ll want to find us on Facebook and Instagram, and in your podcast player’s ecosystem. If you’re going to be sharing a lot, you may want to join our public email list — moversmindset.com/email— so you can see everything we’re doing, not just the portion which we share on social networks.

Two: You can trade your time and real-world reputation by telling people about Movers Mindset in the real world. Talk to your friends and family about us. Recommend us in your community, and to your students. In the real world, you can participate in our Friends program. Go to moversmindset.com/friends for details. Basically, it’s a PDF flyer that you can print to share Movers Mindset in the big room with the ceiling that’s sometimes blue and sometimes black.

Three: You can trade money in any amount of your choosing by going to moversmindset.com/support. There you can make a one-time payment, or setup a recurring payment.

Four: The way for you to trade money and get the most benefit is to join the Movers Mindset community. That’s only $5 per month. Notably, there are no 3-party trades happening in the community; there are no advertisers. The community also includes answers to Athlete questions we’ve collected, follow-ups with podcast guests, access to the discussion panels, plus the community itself including you, the podcast guests, and the athletes. To learn more about our community, go to movers mindset.com / community

This was episode 75. For more information, go to moversmindset.com/75. I’d like to mention that we’ve begun expanding our show notes and adding chapter marks into our audio files. If you’ve looked at our show notes on moversmindset.com. or if your podcast player supports using our chapter marks, we would love to hear from you. Leave us a social media comment or direct message, or email team@moversmindset.com. And I’ll leave you with a final thought from Nelson Mandela: “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

Thanks for listening!