Chris Anderson kick-started the discussion of Free as a business strategy in early 2008 with his Wired article Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business. His previous book the “Long Tail” received rave reviews and has become a must read for many in marketing and business development. The Long Tail explores the combination of market forces and newly available digital technologies creating revenue opportunities from a large volume of infrequently purchased items (ex. 20% of revenue from top hits on iTunes and 80% of items in the large but older catalog). In a similar vein Free explores and often attempts to justify the notion of Free as an inevitable price point in the current digital economy and as a driver for business with an online presence to attain revenue through other channels or products.
The argument for Free is made through a variety of business & economic case studies… both modern and historical. The background given to each case study is both entertaining and informative… if you’re of the right mindset. Chris Anderson does a great job of mapping the impact of economic & marketing discoveries with cultural & contemporary tech history. All these entertaining economic and tech history vignettes are glued together with a cohesive and often compelling argument that we are in the midst of a business shift poised to revolutionize how tech & online focused companies large and small operate.
Free not unlike past books discussing technology business developments circa Web 1.0 hails a new business paradigm and seems to lump all businesses into a common bucket, immersing readers into the economic and marketing strategies of cross-subsidies, near zero marginal cost and a fervent believe in a fundamental difference between atom & digital based products. Free: The Future of a Radical Price at first glance may have you thinking in terms of giving things away, but the message goes deeper and leaves you contemplating more complex business strategies.
Free offers readers a unique opportunity to evaluate conventional business strategies and think deeper about approaches to attain success in a digital marketplace. Whether you agree with conclusions made by Chris Anderson or not you’re bound to walk away from your read of Free contemplating the ideas outlined in the book for some time to come.
Next Up Tomorrow: Assumptions of “Free”
[tags]Chris Anderson, Free, Review, Free: the Future of a Radical Price[/tags]