How Do You Monetize Free…

Should "free" really be for "me" or does it just make me a "loser" as you only "value" what you pay for?

The old adage is something from nothing is still nothing so how do you make money from “free” is the question facing business today as too many things are in fact “free” which is challenging the stalwart business models out there.  As the first one to feel the pain of this new paradigm was the music industry, now followed by video and quickly moving on to the venerable book and publishing zines as a whole.  As to be clear I’m not speaking of pirating either, as this [free material] is all legitimately produced media and in many cases its better then commercially produced content.

With the advent of low cost high power computing kit now available to the masses, media production is no longer held in the domain of those who had the connections to pony up to bank to get pockets full of cash or born with a deep check book.  As this has been a major disruptive force in the “Media” community as how do you as a commercial enterprise compete with free? Even the old school broadcast mediums are losing out to mom and pop video podcast which cater to specialized interests rather than the mass [forced] appeal of broadcast media as gone are the days [yes! I hated Bonanza] of you have to watch Bonanza as it was the only thing on.  The same is now sweeping the lair of the print media with the advent of the iPad, eReaders and larger screen “Smart Phones” as now with the entry level of only 99 Dollars paid to Apple for a developers account and it’s off to the races.

As waxed about in this journal several months prior and exampled with scenario of the kid working at a McDonald’s fast food restaurant who was also doing moonlighting work on a Linux based Network driver that put his paying customers from Microsoft out of work, therefore they didn’t patronize the restaurant meaning the nocturnal coding fry clerk.  He loses his day job as customer traffic is down and ends up homeless and unable to continue his work on the Linux driver.

In this story everyone loses, from the Linux community, Microsoft, McDonald’s, and yes even the good deed doing fry clerk as this no longer just a thought experiment.  As even today we are starting to see this form up on a macro scale in the media world.  So the question falling upon the many is how do “we” make money [also read as social affluencey] from a consuming public who has become use to “free” for so many things?

About Joseph Campbell

As a strong believer in the fact that "people work for people", it has been a life driver to better to understand the complexities of the various aspects which drive efficiency within this axiom, especially the concepts of leadership. Supporting this, I have been fortunate enough to having experienced this as leader on a global basis over the last decade and half. During this time it has been clear there are three core drivers being Life, Leadership and Economics.
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