First, a definition. A commodity is a good where the equivalent substitute can be identified and you can switch easily, at low or no additional financial cost. Hard drive disk space? Commodity.

When communicating with clients, I have frequently said “I’m a waiter here, still or sparkling?” The point is that I don’t control the prices or rules of eligibility, we are pure price-takers. The competitive market sets the prices. Some other party has determined them. It could be the government, it could be an insurance company. Will I receive a commission? In many cases, the answer is yes.

  • Does the difference in my compensation matter? No, I don’t control the level and the differences are so small, it is a very poor use of time. I don’t even apply for something called the Million Dollar Round Table, which seems to be some self-congratulatory group of financial professionals. Are there sales incentives in the world? Yes. Can I tell you a single detail of any of them? Nah, too busy, I’ve already been to the destinations on my own dime. I can’t speak for others, like I said, too busy for that.