In his latest book, â€œFree: The Future of a Radical Priceâ€ (Hyperion; $26.99), Chris Anderson explores “free” as a business strategy and posits that no-cost services will be essential to every company’s survival.
Although I was a fan of THE LONG TAIL, I’ve decided to test his theory by first reading FREE online, for free, before I order it for $$ on Amazon. I’ve read enough arguments against FREE online, such as this interesting take by The New Yorker’s Malcom Gladwell, to warrant needing my own “free” taste before forking over my hard earned cash 🙂
I’ve read a few chapters and so far, I tentatively agree with his observations. Sometimes, a little bit of free pays off:
My mother’s company, Legislative Research, Inc., relies heavily on her relationships with judicial committees and the nice (or not nice) men and ladies behind the desks of those offices. Often, mutual goodwill makes the difference between LRI receiving a needed file within the hour or weeks later. What’s a free service that my mother swears by to grease the political wheels of justice?
Cookies. That’s right — a dozen or so freshly baked morsels delivered by one of her cheerful employees every few months to each of the offices. It costs her very little but those sweet little treats are definitely appreciated by their recipients. It certainly helps that LRI operates with a high degree of professionalism, but my mom will be the first to say that her free cookie gifts make a huge difference in promoting her business and saving her company time and hassle. The ROI on her cookies means that they more pay for themselves.
FREE will be released in the US this week (July 7th in hardcover; July 9th in ebooks). According to Anderson’s blog, some physical copies of FREE will be free as well.