A Pick-Your-Brain Fee?

Ever asked someone you admire in your field to meet you for coffee? Would you pay if that person decided to charge you for the meeting? From the New York Post:

“I offer free advice, when appropriate, but I feel it should be my call, not theirs,” says Steve Cony, president of Communications Counselors, a full-service marketing consulting firm based in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. “When someone asks to pick my brain, I bristle. My brain is how I earn my living — would you ask a plumber to unclog a drain for free?”

Okay in that example, no, of course not. But if I knew a plumber, I might ask her for advice about it (and the advice would probably be, “please hire someone — you have no idea what you’re doing when you have a wrench in your hand”).

People have asked to meet me for coffee before. I have said yes. If I am busy, I say no, but suggest that the person try again in the future when things are calmer. I see it as paying it forward — plenty of people have agreed to meet me and provide me with advice, so I have been happy to do the same.

Photo: Thomas Leuthard