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We have all taken extreme advantage of the plethora of free services, free software, free marketing and free apps. This "free" option has radically altered the economics of the software industry and will have a continuing impact in this generation.
"Free" has opened our minds about the definitions of value in the digital age:
• The value of audience - visitors and subscribers (opt-ins) and the ability to market to, and mine, consumer information.
• The value of the network - B2B or P2P connectivity. Who has a bigger network? Who has a network that looks like my market? Who has the pre-built standard connections?
• The value of platform - interoperability and integration. Is this platform compatible with the rest of my applications?
• The value of human interactivity - social and collaborative connections, services, information and community values.
And now we expect all this for free.
Free conference services, free file transfer, free marketing (social networking), free storage and free ERP. These free services enable individual entrepreneurs or young companies to leverage this "free" world to start new enterprises and develop new services, reaching global audiences with skillful use of those large networks. And they offer new opportunities for individual end-users in big companies who are looking for convenience and speed in getting their job done, often by-passing the overworked IT department.
But what's the cost of all this?
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