The Universe Conspires, We Hope

The place, littered with the mess of depression and recording (if you’ll see these demos contingent on how I feel about them after days or weeks), I’ll tell you the other happy story.

Thursday two-thirds of under[de]construction went to meet with Hal Samples regarding his projects’ web [de]sign/[de]velopment needs.

Hal is accomplishing a lot through synergistic gift-economy relationships. Unfortunately, both Joshua and I already have a lot of pro-bono work on our plate, and we’re both at the end of our financial rope metaphors. I’d already begun a relationship with Hal through Sarah, and he’s showing at the gallery (IR Gallery – ed.) early next year. His broader goals for his organization match those of IR, so I had a natural interest in his work to begin with.

Back to Thursday. Because we couldn’t possibly partition any more time for anything that isn’t billing, Joshua was about ready to leave the meeting when I finally jumped in. I basically wiped the table clean and said, “Regardless* of whether we are involved in this or not, let’s figure out what your needs are and how we can get these problems solved.” I then facilitated planning out the requirements for Hal’s sites, and possible ways to get those requirements met and resourced.

By the end of our meeting, which lasted well over two hours, Hal was committed to compensating Joshua according to his needs, and Joshua was committed to doing the work for Hal (contingent on getting to the details of this middle ground). I learned a bit about myself as well, that I have some serious abilities in problem solving, meeting facilitation, and group mediation. But my ability to carve out this win-win solution was contingent on a couple things, namely honesty and value-sharing. Because all parties were honest about their needs and potential to deliver, there was no gaming. And because all parties had the same values–specifically transcendence within sustainability–we could be that honest, and all authentically work towards a win for the other party. Like I told Hal, “If we over-commit and then can’t deliver because we have to move on to billable work to pay the rent, then we all lose.” On the other hand, if down the road this relationship brings us more work with any of the number of businesses touching Hal’s project, chances are we’ll gladly do future feature-adds or updates for a smile and a handshake.

I told Joshua as we left that there are few business relationships that work like that–without gaming involved–where both parties can work together honestly to achieve a win-win. Even if we don’t end up actually performing the work or getting our logo on the sites, it is valuable to maintain that relationship.