gapingvoid: ten qustions for chris anderson, editor-in-chief for wired magazine
… 2. I think a lot of people have seemed to miss the point of your book, especially people in your business. To me, the point of your book is not about “Free VERSUS Paid”, but a concorde between “Free AND Paid”. As a cartoonist who swings between “Free” and “Paid” quite happily, I don’t see a conflict between the two. Like I said before,
Any profession is in constant, ever-changing negotiation with “Free vs Paid”. When does your lawyer friend offer you free legal advice, and when does he start charging? Ditto with your heart-surgeon pal you play tennis on Tuesdays with. Musicians give their music away for free on MySpace, but charge for the CDs, live gigs and the t-shirts. Petroleum Industry consultants might give 5% of their stuff away for free, just to drum up some new business, but then charge top dollar 95% the rest of the time. In Internet circles, the 95-5% converse is often true. Everyone has their sweet spot. Cartoonists are no different.
In other words, “Free” has always been with us, “Free” is nothing new. So why do you think it’s so hard for people to get their heads around it? Why all the controversy? What are they afraid of?
Well put. I think there are two classes of people who are afraid or skeptical of Free: those who grew up before the web (ie, olds like me) and people whose industries are threatened by the web (ie, media people like me). Many in my generation or profession (mostly, I hope, those who haven’t read the book) assume that Free is something of a Ponzi scheme. Meanwhile, my kids are also appalled that I wrote a book called FREE, but not because it’s wrong/scary, but because it’s so freaking obvious. Needless to say, they’re both wrong. Free is neither a mirage nor is it self-evident. Instead, it’s an essential, but complicated, component of a 21st century business model—not the only price, but often the best one …