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Seth Godin Vs. Malcolm Gladwell on Chris Anderson's Book, Free

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on July 1, 2009

Well, Seth backs Chris against Malcolm.

Or does he really? After playing out the “free” argument, Seth then says:

“People will pay for content if it is so unique they can’t get it anywhere else, so fast they benefit from getting it before anyone else, or so related to their tribe that paying for it brings them closer to other people. We’ll always be willing to pay for souvenirs of news, as well, things to go on a shelf or badges of honor to share.”

That’s another way of saying that people will pay for value-added and not commodity-type stuff. OK. I agree. That’s always been at the core of capitalism—unique things or services we crave and pay for become over time commodities and cheap (almost free) and are replaced by new stuff, which we are willing to pay lots for.

Seth vs Gladwell on Anderson? Gladwell wins.

Reader Comments

Michael Turro

July 1, 2009 3:41 PM

Just curious: have you read Anderson's book?


July 1, 2009 4:09 PM

Godin's argument starts with a sensationalist statement, and then goes around arguing about things that were not even mentioned in Gladwell's article.

Really, the only Gladwell-related statement seems to be the first paragraph, where Godin essentially proclaims that Malcom is wrong, without backing up his claims.

He goes on about what I gather are some NAQ (Never Asked Questions) about the topic of "Free".

alexander hendrix

July 1, 2009 8:56 PM

Gladwell wins? what. a free book?

am i missing the point? labor will not become free. so it's not about labor or simply about content. it's about content made available on the web. such content can be copied over and over again so that the labor effort hence the price of a single copy tends to zero.

on the ever developing web, simple copy of content will become free of charge. this is a tendency, not an actual given. delivery, fast delivery, personalized copies, hardcopies, work effort in order to distribute content and HYPED commodities: these will still come with a price tag.


July 2, 2009 6:51 PM

Leave it to a guy named Hendrix to emerge from a purplish haze. Nicely put.

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