I was having a conversation today with some colleagues, and one of them described his experience taking courses at the NYU film school. It was very expensive, he said, and they worked you incrediby hard.

“You’re basically paying NYU this huge amount of money,” he explained, “to make you work your ass off from morning till night.”

“But was it worth it?” I asked.

Oh yes, he said, it was very much worth it. He’d learned an enormous amount, and still uses what he learned in his work today, many years later.

Then I noted that there was a general principle at work here: “If you want people to give you money, make them suffer.”

One of my other colleagues got very excited about this. He insisted that we write this statement down and that I sign it.

I was flattered, but a bit confused. “Of course that’s how you get people to give you money,” I said, “isn’t that just obvious?”

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