Friday, March 26, 2010

The Benefits of Free Information

Short version: using Shazam (a free app) on my iPhone, I identified a song (for free) I was enjoying (for free) at a lunch spot, listened to free samples on iTunes, and bought two albums by the band (Camera Obscura).

Ok the short version tells you everything you need to know. But look at how the free access to information led to my making a purchase:
  • Shazam (free)
  • Listening to song (free)
  • Identified song (free)
  • Samples of other song by same band (free)
It's more simple than the humorous 3-step plan of the gnomes in South Park, it's two steps:
  1. Give away something for free
  2. Profit
There really are some types of information that want to be free. (Ok there is perhaps a second step in there, where there are some things you charge for. But, it's a nicer story if it compresses into two steps.)