Nailing blancmange to the ceiling

The Economist reviews Chris Anderson’s Free and concludes that

His book advances some interesting ideas about the economics of abundance, but it ultimately leaves the mystery unsolved. The idea of Free is so broad, and encompasses so many different things, that generalisations are difficult. Mr Anderson finishes his book with a list of 50 business models built around Free, presumably so that the reader can find the model that is most likely to apply in his own field. That such a long and varied list is required merely underlines how difficult it is—appropriately enough, for a book that sets off with Jell-O—to nail down such a slippery concept.

One comes away with the impression that to continue with the blancmange analogy, the flavour is interesting, several spoonfuls are pleasant but ultimately the whole concoction is somewhat less than substantial.

The review comments, vis a vis new business models:-

unlike “The Long Tail”, Mr Anderson’s previous book, “Free” lacks an elegant underlying explanation for why some of these new models work and others do not.


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