Depois do bode criado pelos posts discutindo O Culto do Amador, me penitencio aqui com um revigorante trecho de um artigo do Gerd Leonhard sobre, entre outras coisas, quais serão os fatores que determinarão valor no mundo digital. Vai em inglês mesmo, ok?
So what are those future value-determining factors? Here are a few from a long list that I have been compiling:
- The best quality experience, at the perfect time. Compare listening to a low quality audio-stream on your mobile, in the train, to enjoying an HD recording on your living room (or car?) sound system. The first one could be feels-like-free or bundled, the other one could be a premium, paid-for service. The difference is just my particular use case, not the 0s and 1s.
- A new, attractive and convenient package (or shall we say, alternate user interface?) A powerful and very recent example is 'The Presidents of The United States of America' iPhone app: the user pays a one-time fee of $3 for free, on-demand streams and videos from the last 4 albums, and lots of up-selling is built right into the app. iPhone users that are fans are very likely to shell out $3 to get this cool widget, and in a way I guess they are now actually paying for what they would otherwise have gotten for free, anyway (i.e. to listen to their favorite music, on-demand). Plus, the band now has a direct and totally unique path to their biggest fans - and that is the new gold, in my opinion. Sounds like a great deal to me: package it nicely and it will sell regardless of free alternatives.
- Also note that this same phenomena is what still sells printed books. The words i.e. the content anyone can probably get for free, somewhere, but the feel and smell of the paper, the physical format, the touch, the familiar and comfortable user-interface (UI) is what I am actually paying for when I buy the good old, dead-tree version. In other words, I pay for the design, the printing and shipping, and only implicitly for the 'words'. It is important to note, though, that nice user interfaces will soon be available on electronic reading devices, as well, therefore leading us to that very same, original question: what will we pay for when we buy content, ultimately? We may soon enter the age of content-as-software-packages: many of us may soon no longer order the printed versions of books (last not least because of environmental concerns) but we may happily pay a few Euros a month for a digital book subscription, or add it in a bundle via our mobile phone bill, only to then buy the 20 Euro multimedia / virtual world edition of a book we really like - except that it won't be printed and shipped but also downloaded to my mobile device.
- Authenticity and timeliness. I foresee a future where I will gladly pay a bit more to make sure that what I get is the bona-fide real thing, from the actual creator, in its correct version and without any shortcuts or changes. An authorized, paid-for English translation of the new Paulo Coelho book (digital or otherwise) would certainly be more enticing to me than 'free' copy that is not stamped with his approval. And if I can get it the moment that it's finished, even better (and I pay another premium).
- Selection, expert curation, filtering, culling, context, annotation. In my experience, few people have time to find the best music for a specific occasion. Why would I bother looking for a great selection of ambient 'space music' for my yoga sessions when a true, bona-fide authority such as Stephen Hill (Producer of the superb Hearts of Space / HOS online radio show) has already done this for me? My payment to HOS would therefore be not so much for the actual songs, it's more for the service of having them filtered and annotated by a real expert.