Monday, June 29, 2009

Daily Diigo Bookmarks: What has Jordan been reading on the web today? 06/29/2009

  • Malcom Gladwell's review of Chris Anderson's book, "Free" mentioned in a link I diigo'ed last week.Gladwell takes issue with Anderson's agrument -- and seems to really have fun dissecting it:"If you can afford to pay someone to get other people to write, why can’t you pay people to write? It would be nice to know, as well, just how a business goes about reorganizing itself around getting people to work for 'non-monetary rewards.' Does he mean that the New York Times should be staffed by volunteers, like Meals on Wheels? Anderson’s reference to people who 'prefer to buy their music online' carries the faint suggestion that refraining from theft should be considered a mere preference. And then there is his insistence that the relentless downward pressure on prices represents an iron law of the digital economy. Why is it a law? Free is just another price, and prices are set by individual actors, in accordance with the aggregated particulars of marketplace power. 'Information wants to be free,' Anderson tells us, 'in the same way that life wants to spread and water wants to run downhill.' But information can’t actually want anything, can it? "And later, I can feel Gladwell getting giddy and all riled up:"For Anderson, YouTube illustrates the principle that Free removes the necessity of aesthetic judgment. (As he puts it, YouTube proves that 'crap is in the eye of the beholder.') But, in order to make money, YouTube has been obliged to pay for programs that aren’t crap. To recap: YouTube is a great example of Free, except that Free technology ends up not being Free because of the way consumers respond to Free, fatally compromising YouTube’s ability to make money around Free, and forcing it to retreat from the 'abundance thinking' that lies at the heart of Free. Credit Suisse estimates that YouTube will lose close to half a billion dollars this year. If it were a bank, it would be eligible for TARP funds."

    tags: new yorker, chris anderson, wired, books, free, digital, media, communication, malcolm gladwell

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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