Free

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Free

The Future of a Radical Price

Chris Anderson
Hyperion 2009

This book covers the new business models made possible by the phenomenon of Abundance.


Every digital entrepreneur needs to understand the arguements put forward if they want to suceed like Google or think through the monetization of Twitter and similar businesses.

We used to have the Standard, Professional and Premium products in any software market.
But now we have the Freemium and the Professional product.
Even Microsoft is grappling with these new business models.

An interesting chapter is Competing with Free. The discussion on Reputation and Abundance Economies are worth reading.

Chris reviews and disputes 14 negatives:

  • There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.
  • Free always has hidden costs/Free is a trick.
  • The Internet isn’t really free because you are paying for access.
  • Free is just about advertising (and there’s a limit to that).
  • Free means more ads , and that means less privacy.
  • No cost = No value.
  • Free undermines innovation.
  • Depleted oceans, filthy public toilets, and global warming are the real cost of Free.
  • Free encourages piracy.
  • Free is breeding a generation that doesn’t value anything.
  • You cant compete with Free.
  • I gave away my stuff and didn’t make much money.
  • Free is only good if someone else is paying for it.
  • Free drives out the professionals in favour of amateurs, at the cost of quality.
You need to understand why these views are refuted!

Then there are 10 Principles of Abundance Thinking:

  • If its digital, soooner or later it’s going to be free.
  • Atomes would like to be free, too, but they’re not so pushy about it.
  • You can’t stop free.
  • You can make money from Free.
  • Redefine your market.
  • Round down.
  • Sooner or later you will compete with Free.
  • Embrace waste.
  • Free makes other things more valuable.
  • Manage for abundance, not scarcity.
And you need to understand these!

An intriguing list is Fifty Business Models Built on Free.

Check your current business plan against this list!
A must read!