It has been an interesting week in the world of pricing.
In case you have not heard, Chris Anderson of Wired is set to release his new book Free (the title, not the price), and before it even comes out stirs up a controversy. Surprisingly, the book does not seem to be available on Kindle. Hmmm.
UPDATE: Free is now available for free, at least in audio version. According to a video posted on Wired. Free will be available in most electronic formats for free. The exception is the three hour abridged audio version which Anderson believes has more value than the full-length edition (posted above) because of the opportunity cost trade off of listening to the longer version.
In my opinion, the camp of Anderson/Godin is right and Gladwell is wrong. I think Gladwell misses the idea that free does not mean there is not a business model. He is right that youtube and other free services (Twitter) have yet to create a business model, but that does not mean they never will be able to create one.
Gladwell uses the example of former head of the Atomic Energy Commission, Lewis Strauss’ famous late 1950’s prediction that “our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter.” To say that since this prediction has not come to fruition would be shortsighted. Gladwell is right (currently) about that fact that power infrastructure costs are larger that power creation costs, but I can foresee a time when we have personal (or neighborhood) nuclear reactors. This of course will reduce, and almost eliminate, those infrastructure costs.
I would love to hear each of your thoughts on this.