Cheap and Out of Control
Original entry posted: Thu Jul 23 17:05:43 2009
@ Tue Jul 28 05:53:39 2009 EST
One think which I found refreshing in the book is that Anderson seems to speak of Free from the perspective of the Consumer. So yes, when I watch a TV show, that show is technically not free. It is paid by advertisement. But for me as a customer, the experience is pretty much free. Which means I don't have to open my wallet and purchase that TV show. It's just there. There are some inconveniences like commercials associated with it but time & attention doesn't translate as well into money on the consumer's side as on the producer's. So it's practically free and this is what matters.
I totally agree with you on the technical arguments. I especially cringe at the transistor fallacy. People cite again and again Moore's Law. Yet, somehow I keep on spending the same amount on Computers. They supposedly get "faster" inside but if it weren't for the GB's and Ghz's, I probably couldn't really tell.
The only recent development I found interesting was the Netbook. I really do hope we are finally arriving at that plateau where there is a certain level of "standart" processing power capable of dealing with most of the everyday tasks of a computer. Because this is where we would see Moore's Law having a REAL impact on the price of Computer technology... REAL as in ON THE ACTUAL PRICE TAG and not on some geeky cent-per-transistor calculation.
It's true that Anderson spends too much time on Google and others and too little time on the more interesting developments. You've mentioned Wikipedia, which certainly is one great example (though some people pay for that as well). I think the best examples are simply Blogs. With all your skepticism, you yourself provide a free service by writing and editing those excellent articles. And you don't really make any money out of it, do you?
And this is maybe the one conclusion that Anderson can't quite make: some things can only be free if there is someone out there willing to do something for free. He can't say that because if he didn't have a promise of profit somewhere in there, he would lose most of his audience.