Free isn’t Free

There’s a popular saying, “When something is free, you’re the product.” That’s always true, maybe you being the product is as innocuous as hearing a short speech to welcome you to a meetup, maybe it’s getting some logo emblazoned swag, maybe it’s being signed up for a mailing list, or having your facebook details used as demographic data. Whatever the case may be, if you’re not paying for something, you’re the product, and that’s not always bad, but something to remember.

Another type of “Free isn’t Free” is when you don’t support something, but expect the by product to be available, i know that reads weird, here’s an example.

I’m doing an event, for a relatively small dev community. It used to be huge, and my biggest event, but has since become a bit more niche, by no means small like hundreds of people, it’s still in the thousands or so I’d guess worldwide. I decided to do a smaller scale version of my regular event. On one of the lists i’m promoting it on i got this question, “Will the session recordings be available afterward”

Which raised an interesting point, sure they will, if the event happens. Somebody has to support the things that are free. If no one buys a ticket to an event, the recordings won’t exist to be free.

It’s easy to lose sight of this kind of thing, and just assume “Someone is paying” and to sit and wait for the benefits to show up. Free isn’t free. There’s always a reason you can’t support something, and that’s fine, but I think if more people kept this in mind, we’d all be better off.

 

This has been in “draft” status long enough that the event took place, the session recordings are free, and released. I hope the asker of the above question enjoys.

By John Wilker

I'm a science fiction writer and conference organizer. In 2017 I published my first book, 'Space Rogues', a fun Sci-Fi adventure with a fun cast of characters. I'm also the co-founder of 360|Conferences, a conference and event logistics consulting company.

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