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

Advanced Technology

February 10, 2008

This post is related to Guy Kawasaki’s post on water shortage in third world countries. It talks about how good clean water is hard to come by, and when it’s found it’s hard to transport to villages. I hope I can link the video in here properly, although I’m not sure I can.

This post is more or less just the video, but it’s about how a simple solution can fix a major problem. It is as simple as having children pump the water as they play. They just go on a merry-go-round and as they spin around and around the water is pumped into a giant water tank (strangely enough, hidden by billboards).  This makes me think of how way back in the olden days how nomads (I think thats what they were called) continuously travelled and so had all of their belongings to carry.  Their solution was to stuff their children’s dolls with supplies such as flour.  This made it possible for even the children to contribute and help with the “grown-up” work.

We think that the best technology is the latest Apple product, or a scanner inside of a pen, but there are still basic technologies being invented that improve people’s standard of living.  This is a simple example of one of these technologies.

Now children in these third world countries can aid the “grown-ups” (aka. the women) with their hard work, which will substantially increase their standard of living.

Cheers,

David McKenna