Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chris Anderson's Amazing Ability to State the Obvious

The web has been abuzz all week with Anderson's latest treatise in the WSJ - The Economics of Giving it Away.

Here are some of the comments the article has generated across the web:

"Chris, what a fabulous perspective! I have been wondering how the changing economy might impact many of these web-based companies"

"Chris, great commentary on the current and future state of online business."

"I wanted to make a quick post this morning to point my readers toward a great piece in the Wall Street Journal [...] He talks about making money in this economic climate. "

Want a quick summary of Chris's "Fabulously Great" article?

If companies want to succeed, they'll have to sell something.

Hmmm...ya don't say, Chris?

That's some enlightening commentary right there...sure taught me a thing or two about a thing or two.

Ok, maybe I'm being overly critical here but I just don't get all the hubbub when someone who should be seeing ahead of the curve is pretty much reciting standard industrial-era business acumen. Am I missing something here or did Mr. Anderson pretty much regurgitate most media companies' business models (advertising) and the model for most software companies for the last 15 years (shareware)?

Chris states, "digital economics have spurred entirely new business models, such as "Freemium," a free version supported by a paid premium version. This model uses free as a form of marketing to put the product in the hands of the maximum number of people, converting just a small fraction to paying customers.", as if this were something new.

I was writing shareware when I was 15 years old - we'd give away a "Lite" version of the application and charge for the "Pro" version - it's been a pretty common practice for a long while now but for some reason if you slap a new brand ("freemium") on an old box and tell people it's new, they really think it is.

And when Chris talks about advertising-based models I really want to crack up. Network television has been 'free' for decades and is supported by ads - what's so unique about applying this model to media businesses on the web?

I just feel like it's 2000/2001 all over again and I'm reading some of the same articles for the 1000th time.

Let's get some fresh thoughts going on out there...stating the obvious isn't gonna help anyone out of the current predicament this country is in. It's as good as saying "banks should've done a better job at managing their risk" and hoping that will change things the next time around.

Chris, give us something we can really sink our teeth into next time!

blog comments powered by Disqus