I just finished reading Chris Anderson’s “Free: The Future of a Radical Price”. In it Anderson, the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, looks at the history of FREE in past economies in contrast with today’s internet economy which is bringing a whole new meaning to this beloved four-letter word.
“Every economy that becomes digital eventually becomes free.” – Chris Anderson
In the economy of “bits” (physical stuff), we’ve come to mistrust FREE. Afterall, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. But Anderson explains that in the digital economy of “bytes”, due to the lowering costs of bandwidth and storage space, FREE is becoming a new reality. We don’t expect to pay for information or entertainment anymore, thanks to the likes of Wikipedia and YouTube. But is this the inevitable future of all things digital, or indeed all forms of information? What does this mean for those who create digital information for a living? Anderson goes on to explore these question, as well as the many business models that incorporate this idea of FREE into the core of their strategy.
Check it out and let me know what you think! As you would expect of such a book, the audio version is indeed FREE (on iTunes or MP3 files). Also check out his WIRED article on the topic, and his video summary below.