Seth Godin Says Malcolm Gladwell Is Wrong

Godin says he disagrees with Gladwell’s review of Chris Anderson’s Free, but it’s unclear to me exactly what he thinks Gladwell is wrong about. What I took away from Gladwell’s review is that Anderson is wrong that free media alone will satisfy our demand, not an argument that existing not-free media institutions must somehow be preserved.

On a related point, several readers have asked why I seem opposed to Anderson’s view, given that I’ve made a nice career for myself by giving away my own writing for free here on Daring Fireball. My answer to that is that Daring Fireball is decidedly not free. It’s simply a question of who gets charged. Readers don’t, but sponsors and advertisers do. What makes it work so well (so far) is that this makes everyone happy. I’m earning a nice salary. Readers get to read my writing in exchange for a small portion of their attention which I direct toward ads. And sponsors and advertisers are happy to pay a fair price to reach an audience of good-looking, intelligent readers such as yourself. But there’s nothing free about it.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009