Lots of hyperbole, but might be worth a read. Read comments as well..
That is a great discussion at Fast Company. Nice to see so many of the comments reflecting the royalty model, and making clear the risks as well.
Here's how I think of it, using Sony as a generic example.
If Sony used the creative talents of an independent singer
, used its team or producers, manufacturing plants, distribution network and sold millions of copies of the produced work to the public, the singer would receive royalty checks for the rest of his life. An then his estate after that.
If Sony used the creative talents of an independent designer
, used its team or producers, manufacturing plants, distribution network and sold millions of copies of the produced work to the public. The designer would receive a check for the hours worked or project and nothing more.
Record companies used to pay the artists 35$ per song, and they were happy. No royalties. Until the artists realized they were living in the industrial mass production age.
Cyberdemon wrote:You as a designer need to have a vested interest in the success. I've gotten some requests for some very weird products where even with my best suggestions wouldn't have necessarily made for a successful product, but the person was very committed to their idea and still wanted to see it realized. Sadly while these projects aren't the ones I'd want to take, you always need something to kick in cash.
The filter of potential success (as estimated by me) or weird/useless is a good one. I don't want to work on projects that are just going to wind up in a void somewhere. A potentially successful project is advancement for my work, whether I get royalties or not.
It is different when people come to you and ask you to work for free on their great idea, Taylor is right, that is a clear warning sign. The change comes when you are recognizing great opportunities and looking to invest in the success and share the rewards through design. Jerry Manock should have realized that before the success of the machine, but in the same article Scott linked to above
, he felt this way about things.
Manock, dubious about Jobs’ appearance, asked for the money up front. Jobs refused, but Manock took the job anyway. Within weeks, he had produced a simple foam-modeled plastic case that was uncluttered and exuded friendliness. Jobs was thrilled.
From the same article:
So I said, “Look, this is crazy. I’ll join you, but I only want to work half time. Twenty hours a week. Well, I wound up working, like, 50 hours a week, for half pay. I did that for about six months. I thought, This is totally stupid. When I signed the papers as a full-time employee, I was No. 246. I always tell people I could have been No. 6, which was worth, like, $85 million when they went public. But instead, I wanted my $20-an-hour consulting fee.
"..could have been..". No more painful words can I imagine.
Reading a little deeper in the same article. His original contract mentions percentage of each unit as a possible. I guess he got out negotiated by Stevie.