If You Want to Make Money, Sell Things to Rich People

“If you want to make money, sell things to rich people.” This was the advice given by Naval Ravikant to his Periscope listeners last week. It’s good advice.

That’s what I did. I sold my legal skills and talent to rich people. And rich companies.

I could have sold my skills and talent to poor people. I could have represented poor people. God knows they could use it. But I didn’t. I opted for the more lucrative path — not only because of the money, but also because of the challenge.

Representing rich people is more complex and challenging. More intellectually engaging. More stimulating. More fun. Or so I told myself. But I wonder, perhaps it was only about the money. And prestige.

I’m glad I pursued the path I did. But I also regret it. I would be nice to be able to stand with the oppressed, claim the moral high ground, and be well compensated in return. But that’s rarely or perhaps never possible. The money doesn’t reside there. It’s the land of scarcity.

It’s not that I had to engage in conduct that people would consider immoral or unethical on the path I took. Yet the system I enabled arguably was immoral or unethical. So can an enabler claim innocence? I’m not sure, but I doubt it. I’m also unsure whether innocence is something anyone can claim.

That said, no one wants to be poor or financially insecure. So aren’t compromises necessary? Is there anything wrong with that? Or perhaps they aren’t compromises at all. Perhaps it’s just reality and what we need to do is accept it and be comfortable with it. That’s quite possible. But I’m not sure. There’s a lot I’m not sure about.

I used to feel really guilty about my choices. And I turned that guilt on myself.

I no longer feel guilty. Or at least as guilty. That’s a good thing. I think.

About all I know is that Naval was right. “If you want to make money, sell things to rich people.” That’s the easy part.

I also know that the torment of guilt must be addressed; it must not be allowed to fester. That may not be so easy.