One for Free

My wife, Christine, and I have recently become devotees of the AMC Original Series, Mad Men. For those of you not familiar the shows follows the personal and business life of a Madison Avenue creative who goes by the name of Don Draper in the early 1960s.

Small spoiler alert if you are planning to watch the show!

In Season 3, Don happens upon an elderly gentleman in the back unused bar of a country club named Connie. It turns out, he is Conrad Hilton. In this later scene, Hilton asks Don for his opinion on a new ad campaign. What follows is a terrific lesson on providing a free sample without giving away too much.

Enjoy!

For the 107th time – Price is NOT based on cost!

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Hat tip to my buddy Jason for sending this along to me.

This graph originally posted on ReflectionOf.me blog and reposted on The Consumerist and others, once again demonstrates that price is not based on cost. Interestingly enough, most of the comments are railing against Hewlett Packard. Give me a break! You basically get the printer for free and HP recovers the money by charging I higher price for the ink.

One a side note, this graph also shows why it will so hard to get the developing world to shift away from fossil fuels with crude oil being less expensive than bottled water.

What a WEEK in Pricing!

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.

Anyway, first, Malcolm Gladwell chimed in in the New Yorker. Then, Seth Godin responded to Gladwell.

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.