[Originally published July 2009]
Recently, I came across an article in the NY Times about Jeff Bezos’ speech at a conference about disruptive business models.
I googled the article and found that Wired magazine hosted a conference called “Disruptive by Design,” the first conference that I know of focused specifically on disruptive business models. They have a video library of all of the speakers.
Two stood out. The first was Wired’s editor-in-chief, Christopher Anderson, who is more famously known as the author of Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. He has introduced a new book: Free: The Future of a Radical Price, which was the primary topic of his speech. (You can get the e-book and audiobook free here.) He suggests that as things go from bricks to bits, and with the internet as a frictionless marketplace, you get perfect competition where prices fall to equal the marginal cost of a product. Since the marginal cost of “bit-based” products (e.g. software) is nearly zero, he suggests that that they may eventually be free. Using Google to search is free. You can get free operating systems (e.g. Ubuntu). And so on. But he is not suggesting that this is a world of no profits. [Read the rest of this entry...]