Food for thought‘[...] do not think that good design can make a poor product good, whether the product be a machine, a building, a promotional brochure or a business man. But [...] good design can materially help make a good product reach its full potential. In short, [...] good design is good business.’
Thomas J. Watson Jr., IBM CEO

‘It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little’ — John Ruskin

April 13, 2011, 10:18 AM

This is a must-read for everyone, except maybe hard-working humans that grow their own food and don’t have a bank account (and I’m sure even they do a bit of trading, even if it’s with livestock or grain):

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot — it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

— Known as the Common Law of Business Balance often attributed to John Ruskin. John Ruskin was an English art critic and social thinker, also remembered as a poet and artist. His essays on art and architecture were extremely influential in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

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“… I ask [the money] for the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime.”

As a side note, John Ruskin was also involved in a famous trial with Whistler, the American-born British-based painter. Whistler sued him after Ruskin was publicly less impressed by one of his paintings. Here’s an interesting dialogue during the trial, between Whistler and Ruskin’s lawyer:

Holker: “Did it take you much time to paint the Nocturne in Black and Gold? How soon did you knock it off?”
Whistler: “Oh, I ‘knock one off’ possibly in a couple of days – one day to do the work and another to finish it…” [the painting measures 24 3/4 x 18 3/8 inches]
Holker: “The labour of two days is that for which you ask two hundred guineas?”
Whistler: “No, I ask it for the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime.”

Picasso also said pretty much the same, a bit later on.

Via Quote Vadis; photograph taken from ILoveIndia.com.

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Comments:

[…] for several years – and Ruskin used to live just up the road (before our time of course….). Here’s an English translation of the quote. Whether this Common law of business balance was even authored by Ruskin is debated, […]

[…] is a classic quote from ““The Common Law of Business Balance” that refers to the recklessness of choosing price as the best way to make a business […]

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