I’ve been enjoying a lot of FREE stuff for the past several months.
Google, of course. (pardon my little joke if you click the link).
And if I need good info on a person, org, or idea, I go to wikipedia.
Recently I’ve also signed up with Skype, and now a lot of my overseas (as well as local) calls are Free.
My banking is free.
My entertainment is free.
My inspiration is free.
My cutting-edge information is free.
Notable exception: Alas, our public transportation is Not Free (boo!) although I’m hopeful that eventually this guy will get through to the right person and get that changed for us.
Ever really thought about the fact that all this is free?
We’re all about to think about it a whole lot more.
That’s a pretty
freaky gobsmacking thought.
Here’s his argument.
1. We’re used to “free” stuff, which is in fact subsidized by some kind of cross-sell. Think: cel phones for free, if we buy the 3-yr plan (my least favourite thing, fyi). We’re also used to “free” being in fact at the cost of being subjected to adverts.
2. Technology has plummeted in cost. There’s plenty enough to go around and we’ve found ways to make it for almost nothing.
3. This is introducing a new economic model. We can now subsidize the vast majority of services by charging money only for the top tier of service. “You can have a Flickr account, but if you want all the bells and whistles, pay us this small charge”.
So far we’ve seen this only in the online/technology domain. I wonder how long it will take to translate into the ‘real’ world: free computers (but if you want the xtra RAM…), free clothing (but if you want the soy-based kind…), free food (but if you want organic…).
Of course, it’s predicated on the basic kind being inexpensive enough to produce that the premium version will cover the costs and profit. But still. I wonder.
Photo Credit Rache.
Update: for a completely different opinion on FREE (in fact, a robust argument that it’s for the birds) visit the inimitable Squawkfox.