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Summary:

The battle of pop sociologists just got a lot more interesting: in the latest issue of New Yorker magazine, Malcolm Gladwell does a fisking…

Free, By Chris Anderson

The battle of pop sociologists just got a lot more interesting: in the latest issue of New Yorker magazine, Malcolm Gladwell does a fisking of Wired editor Chris Anderson’s new book “Free“, the book about the future of pricing and the value of IP (and by definition business models) in a digital world. Anderson’s iron law:

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By Rafat Ali

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  1. Your piece starts out fine, Rafat, but then disintegrates into needless snark.

    You write, "…peddling somewhat interchangable and at times indistinguishable ideas." Let me parse this a bit:

    "Peddling" is a careful word choice, one that demeans and diminishes what they do. In fact, both of them are eager to share what they have with us for free or close to free. Neither does infomercials, neither sells expensive study at home courses, neither pretends to have precious secrets.

    Second, your point point about, "interchangable and at times indistinguishable" doesn't make much sense either. If both are describing the truth of our economy and our world, then of course what they're saying is similar. How could it not be?

    Perhaps the sentence would be better if it read, "Both of them have made a good living sharing insightful and productive ideas about how the world works today."

    I enjoy your blog (a lot(!) even if it's free), but leave my peeps alone.

  2. I haven't read the "Free" book yet but saw a copy at the public library I will check out so I don't have to pay for it. But I do think the "free" premise is not only flawed but it is the major cause of startup failure that no one wants to admit.

    There is this line of thinking right now that some company can offer a web service for free in other to prevent competitiors from charging or entering the market. Not only is this premise false, it is silly and suicidal for a startup.

    I learned that people do want to pay because that is how they express their earnings. I also learned that just because someone offer a web service for free does not deter people from paying for the service when offered by a competitor.

    I think this Gladwell/Anderson "debate" spark a greater discussion about web startups getting serious about having pricing strategy from launch instead of hiding behind comScore to mask the face they ain't getting profits.

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