The Economics of Free

Trying out the Zemanta reBlog plug-in to share an interesting conversation happening over at Union Square Ventures about the economics of Free:

Free is not a pricing strategy, a marketing strategy, or the inevitable consequence of a market with low variable costs. It’s a symptom of a much more fundamental economic shift. Until we agree on what resources are scarce and have a framework for how they will be allocated in the future we are not just talking past each other, we are talking about the wrong things

Services are not offered for free at all. There is an exchange of value between users, the creators of the raw material - data, content, and meta-data, and the network where that data is converted into insight. This exchange is still governed by the basic laws of economics but the currency is not dollars, it’s attention. avc.com, A VC, Aug 2009
For me, time and attention is the by far the biggest scarcity. I constantly give up sleep to consume more, which means I'm paying a price in health and also making choices on how to pay out the scarcest resource. But how is our time and attention to be converted into value for the content producer? Something I'm thinking a lot about because I'm someone who's constantly looking for "free" alternatives, and working in a business (advertising) that is increasingly underwriting content production.


The Big Experiment * Run For Your Lives 2

This weekend I ran in an adventure race that my brother and his friends put together. The event was their 2nd "Run For Your Lives" event, part of their "The Big Experiment" series; the race was a 2.5 mile trail run, an 8.8 mile street biking route, and 4 wall climbs. The distances don't sound intimidating until you hear the course- The run as through the woods, a full mile running through a river, climbing over fallen trees, and crawling under ropes army style. Then once your legs were good and tired from trudging through water, you had to bike uphill, carry your bike across the river, and up flights of stairs. Finally you hit the house where you had to climb/bolder 4 routes on various walls.

It was a challenge for me, but I loved it It took all my effort, but the course was really fun and the race itself was exciting. The Big Experiment team did an awesome job planning it out and manning the course so it was organized and safe at all times - and during the climbing they bbq'd and did custom prints on shirts for a personalized reminder of the day. Thanks to the guys and I'm psyched for another! There will be more pictures as they come, but in the mean time check out the commercial below they produced after the event