Thursday, February 28, 2008

Why free works

The other night on Twitter, Tara mentioned that she was going to TED this week. I must admit that a few days ago, my knowledge of exactly what TED is was sparse at best. I knew it was some sort of conference, I remember seeing Katie gushing about it before, but that was about all I knew.

So I decided to check out the conference's site, and get some more information. Apparently, it costs $6,000.00 to attend! Are you kidding me?!? I later found out from Tara that she was attending a simulcast of it in Aspen, Colorado for HALF that! What the hell?!?

But I also noticed how Tara mentioned that she had been looking forward to attending TED for at least a year now. Something was definitely up.
Then I found this: The TED Talks section. For the next day, I downloaded and viewed probably close to a dozen of the talks, soaking in all the knowledge.

And now I want to go to TED too. Thanks to an evangelist(BTW check out the goodie bag Tara got at TED, yowza!) and a lot of FREE content, I have gone in a couple of days from not believing that anyone would pay $6,000.00 to attend a conference, to hoping I can next year.

The thing is, TED could easily charge a premium membership to have access to the TED Talks. But instead, they give these fascinating presentations away, and they become promotional tools for the conference itself.

This is why free works. When you make your knowledge and ideas as easily accessible as possible, you win. Don't think of how you can monetize your knowledge, think of how you can share it.

Social media is a great enabler when it comes to free. It can change the way you look at the world, and as the latest TED talk below shows, possibly even the universe (RSS readers, you can view the presentation HERE).

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tlwhittle said...

Mack - you make such an excellent point about sharing what you know. One thing I didn't expect but am so gratified to experience is how friendly and interested in each other the TEDizens are. I hope that one day we're both at TED learning together!

David Tillinger said...

Your experience illustrates just how effective that sharing knowledge can be as an advertising tool. The quality of the shared knowledge was enough to convince you, even as an experienced marketer, to consider the convention.