Pablo Picasso anecdote or apocrypha or whatever; it's still a valuable lesson

Sticker shockToby’s recent post on personal brand highlights some critical questions we should all be asking ourselves. Why? Because we’re obligated to take care of ourselves.

It’s not adult day care, folks.

And what’s the end result of building all of this value? Crafting all of this personal brand?

Well, it reminds of an anecdote that I use more often than I should. It’s the one about Pablo Picasso. Do you know that one?

You probably do.

I usually reference this little ditty when I get the “How much should I charge for my services?” query. It’s a great way of illustrating the point. Without overtalking it like… well, like I’m doing right now.

So, I mentioned it to Toby like this, “That’s like the Picasso thing.”

His response? “You’re going to have to give me a little more detail than that.”

Fair enough. Here it is:

A woman is strolling through a local park, when she happens upon Pablo Picasso sitting on a bench. Struck by her good fortune, she summons the courage to speak to him.

“Excuse me. You’re Pablo Picasso right?”

The man smiles.

“Would it be possible to have you sketch my portrait? I’ll pay.”

Picasso accepts the offer.

He considers the woman carefully for a few moments and then takes out a pen and paper. He quickly sketches a single line on the page.

He takes one last look at the page and hands it to the woman.

“That’s incredible!” She says. “You’ve managed to capture my essence in a single stroke of the pen.”
“That will be $5,000,” Picasso replies.

“$5,000? But it only took you seconds to draw it!”

“Actually, my dear, it took me my whole life.”

About Rick Turoczy

More than mildly obsessed with the Portland startup community. Founder and editor at Silicon Florist. Cofounder and general manager at PIE. Follow me on Twitter: @turoczy
This entry was posted in Branding, Talent, Value. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Pablo Picasso anecdote or apocrypha or whatever; it's still a valuable lesson

  1. Apocrypha? Hello Webster’s.

    Seriously though, this is so important for those of us who price our services by project, deliverable or the hour to keep in mind – especially when you feel weird or uncomfortable submitting a proposal with a “big number” attached. (In fact, our clients should keep this in mind as well when reviewing our proposals).

    An hour’s work now took years in the making. Your personal brand took years to develop. If you don’t invest in it and believe it’s worth the value, no client ever will.

  2. Rick Turoczy says:

    Your price is too low. šŸ˜‰

  3. Mike Butler says:

    I am partner in the PRstore franchise company and own a PRstore in Charlotte, NC.

    PRstore really isn’t about anyone’s personal brand. It is about reaching out to a huge market segment that has been underserved or ignored since Henry Ford rode a horse — the small business owner.

    Small agencies and individual practitioners have had years to figure out a way to address this market. Still, hundreds or thousands of small business owners remain frustrated — shying away from expensive agencies, running from freelancer to freelancer or relying on good ole Uncle Bert — to get their marketing done.

    PRstore has set about to establish an affordable, easy-to-access national brand that small business can instantly recognize as “my” place — the people who exist to meet my needs.

    True, the small business owner will get access to more expertise than they’ve every had before — almost all our owners are “over qualified”. But the result is very admirable: 1) A successful business built around a recognized brand, and 2) Fewer small businesses failing because they now have ready access to professional help. Talk about a win/win. This is it.

  4. Rick Turoczy says:


    I don’t really know that this is pertinent to this conversation. I assume you were meaning to comment on Toby’s post about personal brand.

    But even considering Toby’s post, I’m still confused by this response.

    This is purely promotional blather. The comment doesn’t even begin to address what he’s discussing. I believe his question is not “why is the PRstore great from small businesses?” but “why would someone with a strong personal brand choose to subsume that brand under a franchise name?”

    Being someone who has taken that leap, yourself, I would think you would be in a very knowledgeable position to comment on that very question.

    From an editorial standpoint, I’m all for folks promoting goods and services within the appropriate context (the post on hypocritical about the PRstore is a great example–I’m asking you to pitch the value of the business, there), but a simple mention of your company is not an invitation for a commercial.

    We appreciate your participation, but please keep your comments on topic in the future.

  5. Mike Butler says:

    Rick, sorry you didn’t get my point — or I didn’t make it well. Toby’s “personal brand” piece basically asks “Is the decision to buy a marketing franchise like PRstore a sign of one’s inadequate personal branding?” I have indeed taken the leap and only wanted to say that it is not a matter of personal brand — but subscribing to a totally new delivery system that does not depend on one’s own brand. Sorry if I abused the forum.

  6. Rick Turoczy says:


    That is much more clear and more in the vein of this discussion. Thank you.

    I think we’re still curious about why folks choose to take the franchise route. Is it because you’re expanding the access to your skill set? Is it because you’re amalgamating strengths? Is it the mitigation of risk? Is it the expansion into a new area of interest?

    I also understand if that’s something that folks don’t feel like answering.

    Thanks for taking the time to bring this back around to being cogent to the discussion. It’s very much appreciated.

  7. Pingback: Partner? What? | More than a living

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