Better Than Free is a new blog post by Kevin Kelly with a lot of buzz on the web this week. It is about the evolution of business models and value creation on the web. Important piece of thinking, especially for all those involved in the digital content/entertainment business. In my view this post resonates with the attention economy and the emerging business models within social networks/platforms (recommendtions, social economy). Additionally, people pay in my view increasingly for experiences (physical and social) and context and less for the content itself. Both are relatively scarce.
"When copies are super abundant, they become worthless. When copies are super abundant, stuff which can't be copied becomes scarce and valuable. Well, what can't be copied?
There are a number of qualities that can't be copied. Consider "trust." Trust cannot be copied. You can't purchase it. Trust must be earned, over time. It cannot be downloaded. Or faked. Or counterfeited (at least for long). If everything else is equal, you'll always prefer to deal with someone you can trust. So trust is an intangible that has increasing value in a copy saturated world.
There are a number of other qualities similar to trust that are difficult to copy, and thus become valuable in this network economy. I think the best way to examine them is not from the eye of the producer, manufacturer, or creator, but from the eye of the user. We can start with a simple user question: why would we ever pay for anything that we could get for free? From my study of the network economy I see roughly eight categories of intangible value that we buy when we pay for something that could be free.
There are 8 key value drivers : Immediacy, Personalization, Interpretation/Support, Authenticity, Accessibility, Embodiment, Patronage and Findability"