What if it was free?

What if your the thing you do could be free? If the cost of all your inputs dropped to nothing – what would you charge?

If someone down the street started giving it away – why would people still come to get yours?

The answer is probably, because they want to buy it from you. They like you, the way you do your thing, the story you tell about what you do – and the way these things make them feel.

They feel good about you because you’re: more reliable / cutting edge / traditional / safe / fun / surprising / caring / professional / energetic / calm and collected / place a higher value on X / more educative / a long-term solution / like them.

Better than free

In a world of abundant free – or nearly free – copies, what makes something worth paying for?

In The Inevitable Kevin Kelly suggests eight “generatives”: attributes of goods or services that add value:

  • Immediacy (I can have it now – before the crowd)
  • Personalisation (it’s special to me)
  • Interpretation (how to understand or use the free thing)
  • Authenticity and trust (it’s the real deal, not an imitation. Quality)
  • Accessibility and convenience (so that it’s easier to access the free thing any time)
  • Embodiment (e.g. the luxury of a physical book, or of doing something in person)
  • The feeling and status of paying for it (patronage)
  • Findability and curation (“a work has no value unless it’s seen”)

…these new eight generatives demand an understanding of how abundance breeds a sharing mindset, how generosity is a business model, how vital it has become to cultivate and nurture qualities that can’t be replicated with a click of the mouse.

In short, the money in this networked economy does not follow the path of the copies. Rather it follows the path of attention, and attention has its own circuits.

Kevin Kelly – Better than Free

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