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Discerning Between Market Value And Human Value

Recently I’ve been hanging out with crypto-speculators/ entrepreneurs/ entrepreneurs-wannabes. And to my great initial surprise and mild horror, I realised that there are some in this group who view both concepts of “market value” and “human value” as identical.

These are people who will say stuff like:

  • “My product/ service is the best! And therefore I will make a million dollars by the end of 2018.”
  • “I just made $5,000 from a $50 investment! And therefore I will make a million dollars by the end of 2018.”
  • “I’m totally gifted at singing! And therefore I’m a great pop singer and can make a million dollars by the end of 2018.”

By the way, people who can say the above can also be perfectly sweet and kind folks (nice-to-have human values), who can also succeed in the market too. Unsurprisingly however, they tend not to be able to replicate the success–because luck, as opposed to systems, cannot be replicated at will.

So today I thought I would write something about why it is important to discern between market value and human value.  Because there is an inherent danger in not being able to tell the two apart.


For the purpose of discussion here, let’s define market value as:

“Revenue and financial size of Market problem.”

And let’s define human value as:

“What you subjectively feel the world needs more of.”

The Assumptions Behind People Who Equate “Market Value” With “Human Value”

The inherent assumption behind entrepreneurs/ crypto-folks who equate “market value” with “human value” is that “I can definitely make the company successful”, or “I can definitely earn one million dollars from crypto.”

The corresponding logical conclusion of non-success according to this line of argument is

  • “If we don’t get results, we are not working hard enough”;
  • “As founder I must work harder than the rest”;
  • “I must not fire anyone in my team even though the company is bleeding”.

This sets the ground for an even higher chance of the startup failing.

At this point, I’m fully aware that people might accuse me of being pessimistic or putting strong-willed people down.

However, let me just point out that the very people who make conclusions as such are precisely the people who equate market value with human value. Because there is nothing personal in this analysis!

How To Not Judge The Market

So of course, the next question is then “How can we not judge the market”?

The answer is simply to see the market as is.

So how do you recognise that you are not seeing the market not as what it is?

It’s the awareness of your emotions with respect to the market. 😛

Oh the irony.

The Choice Of Changing The World Via A Company

So you see, whenever entrepreneurs tell me that they want to change the world by starting a company, I used not to have alternatives for them to consider.

But after seeing Ethereum’s example, I’m convinced personally that you can change the world as a tech guy by starting an initial coin offering.

It’s mainly due to precession.

Precession is a concept that is a lot about the unknown-unknown. In commercial terms it means “market forces”– where your actions results in a set of either known or unknown reactions.

There are a lot of ways to change the world, and starting a company is only one way of intending to change the world. Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, the universe doesn’t even care about your company.

So as long as you are in the marketplace, market forces apply. And sometimes we simply don’t understand the implications.

And therefore why do people overestimate themselves, and underestimate the market?

Conclusion: Price Is What You Pay, Value Is What You Get

So let’s not judge or underestimate the market, shall we? Price is an economic function and signal of market value. (Human) Values are subjective, micro-based and differs from people to people.

Yes, some entrepreneurs want to change the world–and sometimes they just cannot accept that there is a possibility that they are too insignificant. And even if they “have potential” and do their best, the market might still work against them.

Be strategic and aware of market forces, whenever you choose to play the game of the marketplace. Set boundaries such that it doesn’t negate your human values. 

So where do we go from here? Well, just do your best to increase your possibility of success given your current knowledge of the market, and be grateful when that possibility = 1! =)