Renzo Piano is the architect behind The Shard, the 95-story skyscraper in Southwark, London. It’s the tallest building in Europe if you ignore the spire of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Renzo designed other iconic buildings including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Times Building in New York, Kansai International Airport in Osaka amongst many others.
He is the architect’s architect. One of the Greats. But he is also a business genius based on how he negotiated The Shard project. When the developers approached Renzo to design the building, they knew his stamp and imprint on the project will be of significant value.
They offered him £1,000,000 for his concepts. An average developer would have jumped on this immediately.
Instead, he offered to do it for free in exchange for something else. Renzo knew that his idea and concept will be of greater value after the project is done, not before. So he asked for the penthouse suite in the building for his efforts. To the developers, the suite would cost less than a million to build, so they said yes.
When The Shard was opened 3 years later, the penthouse became the highest apartment in Europe, with an astonishing view over London. You can almost touch the skies. And everyone below looks like a minion. The suite would become one of the hottest apartment in Europe. Collector’s item available only to the wealthy few.
Renzo sold the apartment for £20,000,000 later. It was 20x more than what he was offered.
In business, as much as in life, there are two types of people. The ones that play checkers (draughts) and the ones that play chess. People that play checkers see everything from its immediate transactional value. People that play chess play the long game.
They do what Gary Vaynerchuk calls ‘Jab, jab, jab, right hook’. They give, give, give and then ask.
This is the core of content marketing. It’s about providing value to your audience through the content you put out. You help, you educate, you entertain, you amuse…..you gain their trust. Revenue is a by-product of trust.
“See, this is chess not checkers. You cannot check the checkers”