Thursday, July 14, 2011

Value of Free things

Free is a very attractive word for a consumer. There was a time and I guess still, FREE is one of the the most attractive keywords in search engines. Getting something free is always good, but from a givers perspective "how FREE is valued by receivers'", is something I learnt the hard way.

When I was at the university, there was a need for a website to be developed for a certain organization which was too close to my heart. I offered them whatever little know how I had free of charge. So I went about developing, site was launched, it had mixed feedback. Some applauded it, while others were ruing about the site having a simplistic design, but all agreed that it was better than what we had before. Some of the commentators had a personal vendetta which I was not aware of at that time, apparently they had been on the verge of selling a solution and I had spoilt their income. Couple years down the line the site was removed without notice and handed over to a company, which managed put up the most embarrassing site I had ever seen in my life. I realized that the fault that I did was that I didn't take the payment, if I had done that they wouldn't have done this, deleting away the code didn't even give a tinge in the nerve since it was FREE and hence valueless to them. I guess its human psychology, when something is given free of charge, even if it is really good, we wouldn't mind throwing it away since no toil went in to getting it, hence no pain of losing it too.

In another broader example, look at the university system in Sri Lanka, I seriously doubt whether the students know the value of what they are getting FREE of charge. Looking at the rate at which they go on strike, vandalize the property, treat teachers with the worst forms of disrespect makes me conclude when given free they do not realize why and how much its value is. Imagine if we or parents had to pay for this education, but I do not think we realize it, since its free and its considered a birth right to get free education, they go to the extreme of picketing once they graduate to demand from the government that they need a job. All in the name of FREE.

Anyway in business FREE has a more tacit meaning. I learnt it from my boss, how to handle free. He advised me, even if you want to give something totally free make sure you communicate the value of it, give them the value as if they are a buyer for a few days and make them realize the toil they need to go through if not for you. Doing this will at least give some value to your 'freeness'. I wish the university students are also reminded regularly the cost for each person's education and probably I should have given them a quote with the value for my work.

No comments:

Post a Comment