Giving stuff Away for Free

I love TED Talks, there are so many inspiring, inquisitive, and informational talks to watch.  From Steve Jobs to Stephen Hawking.  NPR has a radio program where they feature a few of talks that have similar subjects.  It’s super fascinating to me, to get a coordinated presentation of talks.  And it’s FREE, at least it’s no additional charge beyond what you already pay for your internet streaming/downloading device.

This week’s show is about giving things away for free.  It’s funny because today we want everything for free.  And we want it quick, and 100% accurate.  But it takes time and money to get the right answer, to produce the radio/TV program etc., and to make it available to the public.

free-stuffIt’s also funny to me that we don’t want to pay people too much for services, we’ll drive 5 miles away to save $3 at the store, or to have our car fixed… but we’re willing to give away money to people who suffered a natural disaster.

I’m not trying to say we should or should not do these things, it’s just interesting to think about what influences our decisions one way or another.

You know the idea that, “You have to have money in order to make money.”  One of the talks covered in the show discussed the need for overhead costs in order to raise money for charity, but they need to spend money to make money.  Advertising alone is necessary, and that’s an overhead cost.  What might change if Breast Cancer Charities spent all their money for the first few years was spent on developing and growing. Why do we apply different rules to charities in order to raise money?

“You wanna make $50 million selling violent video games to kids, go for it and we’ll put you on the cover of wireless magazine.  But you wanna make $.5 million trying to cure kids of malaria and you’re considered a parasite yourself.”  Is this current system really working to meet our priorities?   “Our generation does not want it’s epitaph to read: We Kept Charity Overhead Low.”


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