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Monday, October 11, 2010


The Fine Print

by Adam J. Kovitz

"Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't."
- Pete Seeger

I once was about to do business with an honest business man that I respected.  I had a service that they wanted and they felt comfortable enough buying it from me.  When I asked him about putting together an engagement contract/agreement, he looked me directly and said, "Please just make it simple; expectations of both sides only.  Remember, we can screw each other over in less words than through pages upon pages of fine print."

This has stayed with me through the years...this thought of fine print and how such fine print also justifies many folks jobs.

When we think of the words "fine print", though, there tends to be a certain stigma attached:
1.)  There's a "catch" hidden in them somewhere
2.)  Typically the "catch" is a means of separating fools (hopefully not us) from their money (hopefully not ours)
3.)  Said "catch" is penned by lawyers who are out to get us while helping their clients.

Many of us, when faced with fine print, usually ignore it and move on to where we just sign.  Case in point:  online software licences.  When was the last time you read through the terms and conditions of your Facebook account, auto insurance policy or mortgage contract?

Speaking of mortgage contracts, this past week in the U.S., three major mortgage banks announced that they will be halting foreclosures on homes for a few months.


The banks admittedly failed to properly fill out their own paperwork properly and furthermore, signed off on such documentation without reading their own fine print!

I've found that there are some businesses that thrive upon keeping things as simple as possible when it comes to such issues but there are other business models that can only succeed through employing such tactics as complexity, confusion and fine print.

During this global economic crisis, do we really need the fine print?  With so many systems that we use that are just broken, isn't it time to challenge and or eradicate the fine print?

Would the world be a better place or more confusing yet?

I welcome your opinions on this manner.

Until next week...all my best,


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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy

The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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