Free Things Worth Paying For

As I’m revising the ShelfMade business plan I find a post by Kevin Kelly and reposted by Seth Godin. Normally when I get distracted and find myself off-task online I try to get back to work. This was different. Better Than Free is a worthwhile read, and helped clarify some value that I am building into my website.

In a world filled with free digital copies on the Internet, why do people actually purchase anything? Kevin lists 8 qualities that customers are actually paying for when you think they are buying free goods. Immediacy, Personalization, Interpretation, Authenticity, Accessibility, Embodiment, Patronage, Findability.

Kevin supports his argument with more than just abstract logic. He includes airtight examples of each point. Regarding interpretation being valuable, he brings up Apache which gives away software and charges for interpretation and guidance of the free software.

How does this relate to my business plan?

ShelfMade is an embodiment company (we call it form). We give online articles a body, in a magazine. We aren’t selling paper, we are creating a reading experience that is better than the laptop screen – with the same content diversity as the blogosphere.

From another angle ShelfMade is a personalization company. Traditional magazines have a wide niche. National Geographic explores the world, but ShelfMade explores that certain corner of the world that you care about. You build the magazine that you would like to read.

Back to work. Be sure to read the full articles.


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