Wired magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson’s Long Tail theory (article, book, blog) predicts digital distribution will lead to a jump in demand for niche content. Not so for music trading hands on peer-to-peer networks, a new study reports, concluding hits are in highest demand just as they are in the retail market.
Tag: Chris Anderson
Wired asked Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle, the creators of the Web 2.0 conferences, to debate the issues raised in our Web RIP cover package. Over a number of days, Tim and John traded emails with Wired magazine editor in chief Chris Anderson, who wrote one half of “The Web Is Dead.” Surprisingly, Tim agreed that the Web is the “adolescent” phase of the Internet’s evolution and that we are seeing a shift toward a more closed phase in the networked age’s cycles. John, however, was having none of it…
TED Organizer Chris Anderson isn’t a man to be trifled with. If you criticize his event you don’t get invited back (which is why we see a bunch of nonsense articles about the event that don’t mean anything at all, but praise heavily). But it’s always fine for Anderson to trash his own speakers.
Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson is now speaking at Y Combinator’s Startup School about Freemium Business Models. Anderson likened freemium to handing out muffins on the street to entice people to start eating your muffins. But with muffins there’s a significant cost to giving away each muffin. With digital goods, you can give away 90% of your product for free, without any cost for those goods. He says ‘free users’ aren’t free loaders, and that it’s okay to let the minority (paid users) subsidize the majority. Because the free users will recommend to friends, it’s a great form of marketing. And for those paid users, many of them are very strong customers — they may be price insensitive, with very little churn.
As a business owner who uses digital technology as the backbone of my business, I found Chris Anderson’s latest book inspiring and useful. Even though ‘Free: The Future Of A Radical Price’ has generated a negative backlash (including a piece on this site), I found it both an incredible encyclopedia of business in our time plus a lens through which to look at my own business.
By giving away products to lots of people, you can make money. Free is the greatest marketing tool there is. It allows you to expose the biggest audience to what you do, and then the question is: Who’s going to pay? Google is the poster child of free. It’s one of the most profitable companies in America, but it doesn’t show up on your credit-card statement.
Fifteen years ago — before Google or Wikipedia or blogging or Craigslist or podcasts or YouTube — the technology investor and pundit Esther Dyson wrote an article analyzing the business of “creative content” in a future where the Internet made distribution essentially free. “Creators will have to fight to attract attention and get paid,” she predicted. Enforcing copyrights won’t be enough, because creators “will operate in an increasingly competitive marketplace where much of the intellectual property is distributed free and suppliers explode in number. . . . The problem for owners of content is that they will be competing with free or almost-free content.”
Chris Anderson’s new book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price, is on the top of my to-read list. Based on BusinessWeek’s review, it sounds like a provocative read about the how economy and technology have evolved the concept of Free.
Chris Anderson has built a career out of making bold pronouncements that the economics of Silicon Valley - the way in which software and digital technology are built and distributed - are likely to spread to, and ultimately conquer, the rest of the economy.
I've never written those three words before, but he's never disagreed with Chris Anderson before, so there you go. Free is the name of Chris's new book, and it's going to be wildly misunderstood and widely argued about. The first argument that makes no sense is, "should we want free to be the future?" Who cares if we want it? It is. The second argument that makes no sense is, "how will this new business model support the world as we know it today?" Who cares if it does? It is. It's happening. The world will change around it, because the world has no choice. I'm sorry if that's inconvenient, but it's true. As I see 'free', there are two forces at work:
In 1969, the Neiman Marcus catalog offered the first home PC, a stylish stand-up model called the Honeywell Kitchen Computer, priced at $10,600. The picture shows an aproned housewife caressing the machine, with this tag line: "If she can only cook as well as Honeywell can compute." That image should be on every cubicle in Silicon Valley; it's a testament both to what technologists get right and what they get badly wrong.