Free: Interview with Chris Anderson

Whether you’ve read it or not, you’re undoubtedly aware that Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail, has written a new book: Free.

I haven’t read the book but can likely guess the premise‚ÄĒand given that¬†the unabridged audiobook can be downloaded online I’ll no doubt be giving it a listen at some point in the near future (Anderson made¬†Free available online at no cost in various formats for a limited time).

Until that time, this interview about Free between Chris Anderson and Hugh MacLeod (of Gaping Void) will satiate my desire.

I think there are two classes of people who are afraid or¬†skeptical of Free: those who grew up before the web (ie, olds like me)¬†and people whose industries are threatened by the web (ie, media¬†people like me). Many in my generation or profession (mostly, I hope,¬†those who haven’t read the book) assume that Free is something of a¬†Ponzi scheme. Meanwhile, my kids are also appalled that I wrote a book¬†called FREE, but not because it’s wrong/scary, but because it’s so¬†freaking obvious.

Needless to say, they’re both wrong. Free is neither a mirage nor is¬†it self-evident. Instead, it’s an essential, but complicated,¬†component of a 21st century business model‚ÄĒnot the only price, but¬†often the best one.

Some other choice quotes from the interview (best read in context):

These are exciting days, and if ever these was a time to be overextended this is it.

Easier: experimenting. Harder: predicting.

Don’t wait to be given a job to do something cool. Follow your¬†passions, create something every day, take chances and try to be the¬†best in the world at something, no matter how tiny and trivial.¬†Nothing impresses me more than initiative. And there has never been a¬†better time to take it.

On a more prosaic note, I think that leading people is perhaps the most important skill these days.