December 17, 2011

"I leave it in your capable hands to do whatever you want..."

"... and please write back saying how much money you want."

Question for normal readers: The idealized working relationship?

Question for first year law students: Is that a contract?

ADDED: Compare the story about Steve Jobs dealing with the master of the corporate logo, Paul Rand:
The [Next] computer would be a cube, Jobs pronounced. He loved that shape. It was perfect and simple. So Rand decided that the logo should be a cube as well, one that was tilted at a 28° angle. When Jobs asked for a number of options to consider, Rand declared that he did not create different options for clients. “I will solve your problem, and you will pay me,” he told Jobs. “You can use what I produce, or not, but I will not do options, and either way you will pay me.” 
Jobs admired that kind of thinking, so he made what was quite a gamble. The company would pay an astonishing $100,000 flat fee to get one design. “There was a clarity in our relationship,” Jobs said. “He had a purity as an artist, but he was astute at solving business problems. He had a tough exterior, and had perfected the image of a curmudgeon, but he was a teddy bear inside.” It was one of Jobs’s highest praises: purity as an artist.
"Steve Jobs," by Walter Isaacson (Kindle Location 3941).

34 comments:

David said...

She admits it. First year law students are not normal.

edutcher said...

Considering Warhol was never the brightest of lights, you'd think Jagger would want a little adult supervision.

The Crack Emcee said...

That's the way it should be:

If you hire someone, then it's because you know they understand the assignment, or will pick up the skill quickly, and don't necessarily need guidance or supervision unless they ask. That's definitely NOT how it's working out there and the results, and experience, are depressing.

And the employer should try to come as close to whatever reasonable amount the employee is asking as possible, based on (what should be) the given of respect, reward, and good help being hard to find.

Is it a contract? You're damned straight - and the best one when you do it right. Win-win all the way,...

David said...

Not a contract. Consideration not specified. Unless you think that Jagger intended to pay any amount that Warhol indicated. In my world at least, Warhol would have to set a price, and Jagger would have to evidence agreement to the price.

Mr. Jagger is quite the Brit in his letter writing. Very old school.

To edutcher: Warhol was no dummy, nor was Jagger. Two intelligent, vicious capitalists in counter culture garb.

Rose said...

LOVE that quote by Rand. A designer's DREAM to be able to say that.

ndspinelli said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Psychedelic George said...

Jobs said that Rand was "astute at solving business problems."

Not so.

Rand could not solve the problem that Jobs had--A company that wasn't working and a product that wasn't viable.

What Rand could do was put a pretty face on stinking fish, but to no avail. Strong design won't save a bad product. Talk to the guy who did Hitler's swastikas.

Interesting that Jagger, an artist in a way that Jobs never was, was so nervous, like Jobs, he also tried to manipulate his supplier, who in his case was a great artist, unlike Rand.

The Crack Emcee said...

purity as an artist.

Yessireeebob.

Tim said...

Gawd. Aren't you done with that book yet?

We're gonna have to rule it apocrypha to keep it out of the Bible.

edutcher said...

David said...

To edutcher: Warhol was no dummy, nor was Jagger. Two intelligent, vicious capitalists in counter culture garb.

I've heard a couple of people on the radio who knew Warhol in his days as a weatherman in Indianapolis talk about him and they seemed very unimpressed.

Hey, YMMV.

Curious George said...

"The Crack Emcee said...
That's the way it should be:

If you hire someone, then it's because you know they understand the assignment, or will pick up the skill quickly, and don't necessarily need guidance or supervision unless they ask. That's definitely NOT how it's working out there and the results, and experience, are depressing."

My sister is a very talented and successful graphic artist. She constantly bitches about moron clients who ultimately really want her to "draw this". Of course, it pays well, although she doesn't get the deal Warhol did from Mick.

Curious George said...

By the way, I'm no lawyer but the first thing to come to mind was "nope, no consideration".

Freeman Hunt said...

Of course Jobs could do that. The man sells you the design. Then if you want options, you change it or have it changed by someone else.

Freeman Hunt said...

There are some artists with excellent taste and skill who you can pretty much let loose. Others either lack in taste and skill or have those but additionally odd affectations that degrade their work. The others require more guidance.

somefeller said...

I've heard a couple of people on the radio who knew Warhol in his days as a weatherman in Indianapolis talk about him and they seemed very unimpressed.

Well gee, that's some strong evidence against Warhol's intelligence.

rcommal said...

Wow, that Letters of Note site is pretty damn cool. No desire to derail the thread here, but, as a side note, some might enjoy Groucho Marx's 1943 letter to U.S. Troops and Benjamin Franklin's "You are now my Enemy" note to a member of British Parliament, for just two examples (at the home page now) alone.

Really appreciate the discovery of that website.

/OT

EDH said...

No bilateral contract. No offer capable of acceptance that could bind both the parties before performance. As others alluded, no agreement on material term possible in Warhol's "acceptance".

More in the nature of an RFP.

Closer to an offer of unilateral contract, however, where performance is acceptance. Still you have the consideration problem and might end up in quasi contract if agreement not reached, and Warhol performed in reliance.

Notice, Mick uses extra spaces after periods between sentences.

Psychedelic George said...

Andy Warhol was a weatherman? On radio, TV?

Really?

The Crack Emcee said...

Curious George,

My sister is a very talented and successful graphic artist. She constantly bitches about moron clients who ultimately really want her to "draw this". Of course, it pays well, although she doesn't get the deal Warhol did from Mick.

Before my music career took off, I worked as an illustrator for a number of years and, yep, that's EXACTLY what it's like. Sometimes it was fun - the pea brains would make me think in a new way that I found to be a challenge - but, usually, it was frustrating because they hardly ever knew what they wanted or needed in the first place. There was no pleasing them. Much better to present finished work (almost always finished - if they saw a work in progress it made them form judgments).

It's a tough gig, so I'd have a *little* sympathy. She probably wants to stretch - producing her best work for the client - and can't.

That can really drag you down if you're passionate,...

Palladian said...

um... edutcher...? Weatherman? Indianapolis? Andy Warhol?

Andy may have known which way the wind blew, but he was never a weatherman...

Joe Schmoe said...

It's fascinating to me that the letter is direct from Mick. Maybe. Either he was a lot more hands-on with the production side of things than I would've thought (this is album art we're talking about), or his business people wrote a letter for him thinking that Warhol would be more persuaded by a direct plea than a letter from Mick's reps. The verbiage in the letter makes it sound like Mick wrote it directly, or at least dictated it to a typist.

Joe Schmoe said...

An idealized working relationship? I don't think so. These are the types of negotiations you have when you don't have much 'hand', to quote George Costanza.

I had an experience once where I hired a highly-regarded service firm (not famous or anything; just one that many people I respected enthusiastically endorsed). I was disappointed with their final output. It turns out we got more of their less-experienced B-team because their A-team members were servicing their bigger accounts. So just because you hire Warhol doesn't mean you get Warhol's A-work or even Warhol's work. (Artists throughout history have relied on apprentices/art student interns to do some heavy lifting for them.)

traditionalguy said...

Unless there is an established course of conduct, those words mean a contract requiring a payment of Some Money...1 cent, perhaps.

An old story is the man who hires a portrait artist for $1000 tom do an oil painting. When it is finished he says it is horrible and refuses to pay the artist.

Then a straw man goes to the artist's gallery and buys it for $100. But that sounds like Bill Gates.

EMD said...

There are some artists with excellent taste and skill who you can pretty much let loose. Others either lack in taste and skill or have those but additionally odd affectations that degrade their work. The others require more guidance.

It's your job, as the client, to know the difference. Or at least find out.

Freeman Hunt said...

I would also point out that the approach to business negotiation is a classic one.

"I'm so excited about your work. [Tips at guidance go here.] But you're so brilliant, I'm sure that whatever you do will be great. Send on how much money you'd like. [Mention of person actually in charge of the business negotiations.]"

Mick is generating the enthusiasm for the project; the mentioned guy will be the guy who negotiates the price.

edutcher said...

Palladian said...

um... edutcher...? Weatherman? Indianapolis? Andy Warhol?

Andy may have known which way the wind blew, but he was never a weatherman...


David Letterman and Jane Pauley knew him there.

somefeller said...

David Letterman and Jane Pauley knew him there.

Link, please.

Joe Schmoe said...

Jobs liked Rand's approach because that's the way Jobs negotiated. There's another part in the book that describes Apple's board members discussing Jobs' compensation after he came back to Apple after NeXT. He was getting paid like a $1 a year (his idea). Apple was starting to turn it around, so the board came up with a big stock grant for Jobs, something like $5-$10 million to show their appreciation and restore some order to CEO compensation. They offer it to Jobs, who's making nothing from Apple at this point but is making good bucks from Pixar, and instead of saying 'whatever you want to give me, that's great'...he says 'I want $20 million.' They proceed to have a pretty intense negotiation and I believe the final number was closer to Jobs' liking.

Palladian said...

"David Letterman and Jane Pauley knew him there."

edutcher, I have read every major biography of Andy Warhol, every book he ever co-authored, including his exhaustive diaries, and have known his work since I was a teenager.

He was never a weatherman, dude. He was an extraordinarily awkward son of Czech immigrants from Pittsburgh, PA who started his career in New York as a commercial artist and illustrator in the 1950s. They didn't even have TV weathermen when he was young. He quickly became famous and rich as a commercial artist, then a famous and rich "fine" artist. He never worked doing anything else.

And anyone who has ever seen or heard him speak would find the idea of him being able to be a weatherman laughably ridiculous.

jamboree said...

Except the NeXT logo was absolutely terrible, looked like a new age nursery, wasn't worth the money, and shows his weakness for name brands even when they didn't live up to the hype.

It would have been okay for "Toy Story", but not a computer company.

It's really one of the few times I feel no doubt about calling him out on a matter of taste - the other being not including "Revolver" in the Beatles area of his ipod.

jamboree said...

Meant "new wave" as in "80s" - the general focus on "new age" here as a subtopic and general put down has infected me.


WV: "scoton" - a type of photon derived from the scrotal area.

Ann Althouse said...

"And anyone who has ever seen or heard him speak would find the idea of him being able to be a weatherman laughably ridiculous."

Ha ha. We're laughing here. Love the video with Debbie Harry's "famous leg."

Love the whole idea of Andy Warhol the Indianapolis weatherman.

You don't need an Andy Warhol weatherman to know which way the wind blows... in Indiana.

Chip S. said...

I think this whole Warhol-in-Indianapolis business has a simple explanation. The actual weather guy was Indy Warhol.

Curious George said...

"The Crack Emcee said...
It's a tough gig, so I'd have a *little* sympathy. She probably wants to stretch - producing her best work for the client - and can't.

That can really drag you down if you're passionate,..."

She actually does a lot of free stuff for locals that really can't afford a pro. Show posters. Logos. Stuff like that. They give her a free hand, and she does what she wants. That's her creative outlet...then back to "draw this" for the big bucks.