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If all intellectual capital will be given away for free, what kind of capital is it?

Chris Anderson: Free.

Chris Anderson: Free.

Illuminating little discussion on Chris Anderson’s book “Free”. Starring Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker (http://bit.ly/YImSk), and Seth Godin (http://bit.ly/36hobf) and a very pragmatic Joseph Ferrara (http://bit.ly/o75nQ) on their blogs.

Obvisously, the idea remains controversial. I have always been wary of “The future will be exactly like this” books. I spent to much time of my life waiting for handheld laser guns and antigrav shoes. But one interesting question remains: As the price of stuff made of ideas drops, should/will ad agencies give away their ideas for free? If so, which ones? And what should they make money on?

Chris Anderson often references the music business: Nowadays many bands make more money by touring, selling tickets and merchandise, than by distributing CDs. And Wired Guru Kevin Kelly calculates that the purchase power of a measly 1000 true fans is enough to help a not so famous Rock’n Roller to a decent standard of living. But how does this idea travel? While I would love to sell T-Shirts with skull prints to my clients, I am afraid that won’t be enough. Would Chris advise advertisers to give away their ideas for free, and live on fees for execution and production. This feels counterintuitive, since ideas are what differentiates agencies in the market. Maybe it is not the clients that benefit most from “free”,  maybe we need to look at the actual customers. What do we have to offer for them? Actually, not much, since the mass media wouldn’t let us. This may change.

Suggestions welcome.

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