There was a time in my life (read: college) when experience or value meant nothing to me. I was completely focused on finding the cheapest option. The cheapest booze, cheapest food, the cheapest anything, and the freer the better. I drank Bacardi 151 because it was incredibly effective. I ate the 99 cent packages of LIpton Noodles because it just seemed so much more filling than Ramen Noodles. Shit, I even started working at a bar in college because we got to drink for free when we were done.

Then came the time where I placed value above everything else. This started a few years after college where I had a little bit of disposable income. I didn't care about price at all. I would only buy something if it was an amazing value. It could be cheap, it could be a bit expensive, but it didn't matter as long as I felt I was getting the longer end of the stick.

I've now come to place a much higher value on expertise. Typically that means paying a lot more for something. In the beginning it was really hard to justify this change in mindset, but that has all changed now.

Experts and Grand Masters

You want to up your game? The best thing you can do is surround yourself by people who are better than you. I've had the opportunity to surround myself with some incredibly talented people the last few years, and it's something I'm thankful for every day. It's truly taught me the difference between people who are good at what they do, and people who are on the absolute top of their game.

When I was with Digital Ocean during TechStars, we met some mentors who catapulted the company forward leaps and bounds after a 1 hour session. Working with David every day, I see the difference between good software developers and the one's who are in a league of their own. When I study some of the best internet marketers, I am blown away about how they think about the world.

The way these people approach their craft is something truly magical.

The Price for Greatness

These grand masters are so good at what they do that there is no such thing as a fair price. You'll never be able to pay them what they are worth. You are fortunate to get whatever amount of their time you can get for whatever price you can get it at.

Tony Robbins charges $1,000,000 per year for him to be your personal coach. That one million a year only buys you 1 hour per month. 12 hours of Tony's time. That's all you get. $83,333.33 per hour to get advice from Tony. And the crazy part is, you can't even pay that if you want to. He only has 12 people that he coaches a year, and he has been completely sold out for years.

There are other examples. You want Fred Wilson to invest in your company? He only takes on 1 investment a year and sometimes he doesn't even do that. The TechStars NYC class just rejected 99.2% of applications they received to be part of their winter class (meaning it was 7 times easier to get into Harvard).

Obviously, those are some extreme examples, but the value of expertise is almost unquantifiable. When you have the choice to work with someone who is good at what they do or pay extra for someone who is in a league of their own, I hope you take some time to consider what you might be missing.

P.S. I want to clarify that I don't think David is on the same level as Tony Robbins or Fred Wilson. He's definitely a 10x programmer. Who knows, maybe one day he'll be up there with the greats, but right now I can comfortably say that he's the best programmer I've ever worked with. And it's not even close.