FREE : without cost, payment, or charge.

Fostering a culture of free

blahThere’s no such thing as a free lunch.

I naively truly believe in this popular adage communicating the idea that it is impossible to get something for nothing.

But, how did we end up to the point where people genuinely wants everything for nothing?



Let’s start with Ciaran Jones writing about his own experience and his introduction into the culture of free : Generation Y-pay and the culture of free.

Once again, I was getting for free something I would have quite happily continued to pay for.

Looking back on all that, it seems like there is a curse of availability. As soon as something is out there, freely – meaning both widely and free of charge – the temptation to actually dip into your pocket and pay for it is substantially reduced.

The demonstration is quite excellent but sadly pessimistic, somehow.

How can companies survive such intense competition and attract a paying public when you can read all over TEH INTERNET:

Do not want ads!
Freemium games are sneaky!
Why is it not free?
$1.99 is expensive for an app!
No trial version? kthxbye

Spec, carrots and crowdsploitation

On the other hand, what about the curse of crowdsourcing?

Of all the invisible wars simmering within our collective unconscious, the battle waging closest to the designer’s homefront is over crowdsourced design. CrowdSpring? 99designs?

Granted, if your design practice is communications oriented, this is a hotspot you’ve scratched before; if you’re an architect, you may find this model analagous to industry-specific practices you take for granted; if you’re a designer just out of school, you may see this as stepping stone to rewarding work and employment; and so on and so forth down the line. Despite strong positions for and against crowdsourcing, it’s always tempering to remember that different lines can be drawn over what constitutes unacceptable practice.

Ever heard of speculative work (well known as spec work)?
Let’s watch this brief introduction to understand why work produced on a speculative basis is wrong:

For more information, read this website created to educate the public about working on spec work: http://www.no-spec.com

The designers in essence work free of charge and with an often falsely advertised, overinflated promise for future employment; or are given other insufficient forms of compensation. Usually these glorified prizes or “carrots” appear tantalising for creative communicators just starting out, ending with encouraging examples like “good for your portfolio” or “gain recognition.

Another point of view by Mitch Joel You Should Work For Free. You Should Not Work For Free.

Over the decades I have done a ton of free work. I’ve worked for others, consulted individuals, offered to be an intern, been writing this unpaid blog for close to a decade, and more in the hopes of not being paid or eventually getting full-time employment from these companies, but as a way to increase my experience and make me more valuable in the marketplace.

Pay the Writer!

And last words from Harlan Ellison (who has a reputation for being abrasive and argumentative, how surprising?) with an excerpt from feature documentary « Dreams With Sharp Teeth ».

Priceless.

Conclusion

This post is more a reader digest, a glimpse of my point of view than a proper well-organized article.

Support developers, respect the value of creative work, do not work for free and say no to spec work (it would seem absurd in most other professional industries but hey…).

I have now finished my rant, cheers! 🙂

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