Monday, August 13, 2012

To be free or not to be free - the debate on giving your stuff away

Here's one side of the coin, by the brilliant marketing genius Seth Godin:

Here's the other side, a very famous rant by Harlan Ellison (I'll warn you ahead of time - there is a bit of colorful language on this one):

So . . . when all is said and done, who do you listen to?  There are points to be taken on both sides of the issue.  Seth and Harlan may be two extremes, but in truth are they?  Some days I feel like a greedy bastard because of all the free stuff I download, through podcasts or free Kindle editions or sample PDFs.  Okay, I'll admit, I a whore of the free - a free junkie, in other words.  My favorite four-letter F-word is FREE.  Followed closely by FOOD.  But if I find someone I connect with and like their work, I will turn around and purchase their wares.  (Harlan, I for one would've watched the interview and said, "I'll find out what he's written and buy their books."  I may be a rare beast that way, but that would be me.)  Speaking of free, one author I've discovered is Scott Nicholson, and he has a ton of Kindle books out there, and according to a recent blog post he has nine books he's promoting this month for FREE!  A few I already own, but by God I'll be picking up the rest once they become free.

I lean towards Seth a bit more on this debate, although I do have a mortgage that needs to be paid and my children need to eat too.  Keep in mind, Seth said that in order for someone to go from getting your free stuff to paying for your stuff, your work needs to stand out.  It needs to be remarkable.  If you're putting out a bunch of free crap, nobody will buy the paying stuff.

Harlan, on the other hand, is almost saying the same thing as far as being remarkable.  He differentiates the amateurs from the professionals.  I agree that everyone seems to want things for nothing.

Yet they'll think nothing of going to a gourmet coffee house (think Starbucks here) and purchase a $5.00 coffee.  Not for me, thanks.  I'll make my coffee at home.  You do what you want.

What side of the coin are you on?

1 comment:

  1. Mark - wow, these are definitely opposing views - and colorfully expressed. Obviously, I tend more toward Seth's view. I've seen it pay off for me time and time again.