Episode #121: Interview with Kirk Bowman, Visionary of Value at Art of Value

Kirk Bowman’s Biography

If you really want to talk shop, Kirk brings over 15 years of experience developing FileMaker databases and web applications as well as systems integration. As the principal of MightyData, Kirk heads an elite team of FileMaker Certified Developers and Authorized Trainers. He is a renowned speaker at the FileMaker Developer Conference and PauseOnError un-conference. Anyone who knows Kirk realizes that to become the Visionary of Value means walking the walk and talking the talk. To that end, Kirk is a Practicing Fellow at the VeraSage Institute and a proud graduate of EntreLeadership.

His podcast, which is excellent: ArtofValue.

Segment One—Ed’s Questions

Ed and Kirk live five minutes apart and both attended the Allen Father Daughter Ball. 

You used to be a naysayer with respect to hourly billing. Tell us your story of conversion, and transition to Value Pricing.

What big one or two mistakes did you make during the transition?

What were some of things that surprised you—including internally—of the transition?

Do you think you’ve gotten better at the value conversation?

Are there particular questions that you use to open the value conversation?

Where did you find more resistance in your transition, internal or from your customers?

Why were existing customers harder to convert than new ones?

Segment Two—Ron’s Questions

There are so many new podcasts coming out, and we hear so much about pricing. What do you think is the future of Value Pricing?

I have heard you say that hourly billing requires a calculator, but VP requires courage. Can you prove that statement?

My new mantra has been that value is a feeling, not a number. Professional’s don’t have a high tolerance for ambiguity; we rather be precisely wrong rather than approximately right. How do you deal with that when you help people transition?

In your transition, you started with new customers. I started, in 1989, with current customers first. If new customers like it, why wouldn’t current customers? Have you seen firms start with current customers?

Why do you think hourly billing sticks around and is endemic, and ubiquitous, as it is?

Are people just satisficing (satisfy + suffice)? In other, hourly billing is good enough?

With Value Pricing you learn from your successes and mistakes. Would you agree?

Do you think by offering options you are more focuses on the outcomes rather than delivering a series of tasks?

Segment Three—Ed’s Questions

Tell us about the creation and evolution of your podcast, The Art of Value.

An unfair question: Any particular guests, or particular moment that jumps out at you, from your show. Kirk replied:

Have you recorded any shows that you didn’t publish?

What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a podcast?

Tell us about your Value Pricing consulting.

Segment Four—Ron’s Questions

What about the timesheet?

I think it inhibits good pricing because it never breaks that fundamental nexus between effort and value. Do you agree?

Ed says he can see a future where project management dies. Do think it could die?

You talk a lot on your show about the Value Lifestyle. Unpack what you mean by that term.

You’re a tech guy. What’s your take on Richard and Daniel Susskind book The Future of the Professions? Are you a pessimist or an optimist with respect to the future?

What one piece of advice would you give to firms with respect to pricing?


Ed Kless

Ed Kless joined Sage in July of 2003 and is currently the senior director of partner development and strategy. He develops and delivers curriculum for Sage business partners on the art and practice of small business consulting. Courses include: Sage Consulting Academy, Business Strategy and Customer Experience Workshops. Ed is the author of The Soul of Enterprise: Dialogues on Business in the Knowledge Economy, a compendium of a few of the episodes of his VoiceAmerica talk-show The Soul of Enterprise: Business in the Knowledge Economy with Ron Baker, founder of the VeraSage Institute where Ed is also a senior fellow.