In Defense Of Free

09/04/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

As a business owner who uses digital technology as the backbone of my business, I found Chris Anderson's latest book inspiring and useful. Even though Free: The Future Of A Radical Price has generated a negative backlash (including a piece on this site), I found it both an incredible encyclopedia of business in our time plus a lens through which to look at my own business.

As I listened through the audio book I started to believe that many of the critics probably had not have read the book and were railing against three key issues - free as a progressive business concept; that free means we have to change what we do for work; and that many people don't live 'free' yet.


Free as a Progressive Business Concept

One key reason that many people don't like free is that it doesn't seem very progressive. We've built incredibly complex (and some would say, too complex) financial systems and society views these systems as proof of superior thinking over our predecessors and the world around us. "Giving stuff away" - as some people view the definition of free - could look backward and even tribal.

I would argue that Anderson's book documents a system of trade that is just as complicated as the situation where we give real value to the notes in our pockets or the numbers on a screen. If we're prepared to concede that a piece of green paper is the equal value as a small hamburger then we should be able to accept that free is a business model, or models, too.

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