Hugs are not free!

March 29, 2008

I guess I’m a little behind everyone else for the blog post about free, but I figure it’s about time I had my voice heard on the matter. I realize that probably no one besides Dave will read this due to too much free exposure to free, but here goes…

My first experience of free is when i got my first bank account. My mom and dad took me to Scotiabank to deposit money I had received for my birthday, and we put it in a bank account with an extremely low interest rate. About a year later, I received a notice saying that my account balance had gone up somewhere around the area of 1 cent. I was ecstatic. For some reason, the bank had decided to give me free money, for absolutely no reason (besides the fact that they had possession of my money for a year, but I didn’t know it then). I knew then that I would love free things for the rest of my life.Mob of people giving free hugs

On a different note, I’ve recently been reading Seth Godin’s blog post called Where to find great ideas and arresting images. In it, he quickly discussed how Flickr is a great place to get free pictures (such as the one to the right), as well as free ideas that can be used to put the picuture/image in context. Therefore, looking for inspiration, I searched over 500 images hoping for inspiration. I don’t know about inspiration, but I sure did see a lot of pictures about “Free Burma”, and “Free Hugs”.

In my search of free, I’ve realized two things. Nothing is ever free (including hugs), and people appreciate things more, if they aren’t free. I’ll touch on the second one first.

If a person’s greatest ambition is to purchase a new car, and they spend years saving every penny for this car, then when they eventually do get it, they will treat it like gold due to the hard work and sacrifice placed forth in obtaining it. If the same person were given a car for free, say like a student receiving a car from their parents, it is doubtful that this car will be treated with the same respect that it would have if they had personally purchased it. Free breeds disrespect for a product or service.

My second realization, nothing is free, I believe under every circumstance, must be true. Nothing would exist without someone putting forth an effort to create or obtain it. For the most obvious examples, technology, such as open source software, is not free. Even if it is free to the consumer, it cost somebody something. The developers of Linux give their software to consumers for free, but it costs the developers substantially in time and money. How do they make up for this cost? They charge people for the support of the software, like IBM does for Linux.

Conclusion, nothing is free. If one person gets something for free, another person (or company) had to pay for it. Hugs are free? No, they cost the person the energy and time to give that hug. Google’s search engine is free? No, Google makes billions in revenue as a result of having a search engine. Even if you find a $20 bill blowing across the road and pick it up, it is not free, because you had to expend the energy to chase after it and pick it up (as well as it cost the person that lost it by having $20 less, and having expending the energy in actually losing it).

At the very minimum, a product or service that a person receives for “free” cost someone time and energy. It is the amount of time or energy that a person puts into something that classifies it has free. At what amount of time or energy, is a product or service not considered free anymore? That is a question for the class, if anyone has indeed read this.

Cheers,

David McKenna

Chandler … where is it?

January 29, 2008

I posted a link to Chandler, an ambitious, open-source PIM (personal info manager; e.g. Outlook) on one of Tasia’s posts. Then I found this this article this morning, decrying the slowness of Chandler’s development.

Web 2.0

January 24, 2008

I’m suprised that no one made a post about Seth Godin’s Post Layering. I could be wrong but I find that this is what we’ve been talking about with regards to Web 2.0. Seth Posted: 

Here’s what we used to do:  

Create —> Edit —> Launch

Here’s what happens now:

Create —> Launch —> Edit —> Launch —> repeat

He used the example of wikipedia and how users are able to add content, and edit that content or the content of other users.He also went on to say that organizations are acting more and more this way, however there are some that aren’t able to do so, because that isn’t their function.I think that as we move on in the world more and more applications and organizations will move toward this method of doing things.  By being able to edit something continuously companies and/or their applications are able to adjust to the ever changing needs of their customers, making these organizations/ and or applications much more competitive.After reading Ch. 3 in Wikinomics, the book gives the example of Apache vs. Microsoft’s server.  Apache remains extremely competitive toward Microsoft because 1. It’s free 2. Users are able to adjust the server to meet their own specific needs so users don’t have to make due with what they bought with Microsoft’s server.As we move on, I can see having the ability to change things become more and more desirable.  Although “turn-key” software, provides less work by the user, the openness of the business world and the internet will become just as competitive if not more, than the conventional “as is” way of doing things. ~Jerry