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Rob Millard

'Asshole pricing' is a perfectly logical concept from an economic perspective, too. Such clients cost more to serve. One expects a certain profit margin on one's services. Therefore, it is perfectly logical to adjust the fees charged to such "higher cost / lower margin" clients to that the margin achieved is the same as with one's better clients. If this means that Adam Smith's 'invisible hand' directs them away from the firm, then that saves having to fire them! Rob.


Reading this reminds me of one of the worst customers I've worked with in my role in a software vendor's consulting group. And I realize another risk of dealing with assholes: they may well decide to dishonestly screw you over.

One of our customers continually squeezed needed hours out of Statements of Work so that it would be impossible to accomplish their projects on time, they'd get free hours from us, and then yes, they made unreasonable demands for scope creep while we were on site.

But the worst of it was when we realized they were only licensed for 1/3 the number of users in their system. First they denied it and had us hire external auditors to verify. Then when the auditors agreed they were out of compliance, the company said, "Then go ahead and sue us."

They ought to pay us about $1 million in license fees. But I think we just cut off our relationship with them.

I suppose integrity and respect are more common among non-asshole, and I suppose dishonesty and perfidiousness are more common among assholes. So although an asshole tax may compensate you for the difficulty of dealing with someone, it's can't necessarily protect you when they step outside the expected bounds of the relationship and are dishonest in a big way.

Daniel Cooke

So many wrongs by the client here, but this caught my attention:

"Our own managers...believing we were bad at what we were doing, no matter how successful were our previous missions"

Dealing with this caliber of client can't be good for making positive impressions on the people you work for. I wonder what are some approaches to preventing this fallout could be?


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