The Business of Free

September 18th, 2009

This week on Business Matters we’re talking about the economy of free. From ways that large companies are increasingly offering their content either for free, or giving some of it away and charging for the rest of it with a system known as “freemium”, to the ways that individuals in their communities are operating networks to offer things for free in a phenomenon that combines recycling and barter.

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Chris Anderson – Editor, Wired Magazine; Author, Free: The Future of a Radical Price

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Chris Anderson is the author of the international bestseller The Long Tail. He is the editor in chief of Wired magazine and was a U.S. business editor at The Economist. He began his career at the two premier science journals Science and Nature. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from George Washington University and studied Quantum Mechanics and Science Journalism at the University of California.
-Chris Anderson’s Blog
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Judy Brown – Co-founder, The ReUseIt Network

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The ReUseIt Network was launched on July 18, 2007. It serves as a directory of and support system for affiliated community recycling groups around the world. It offers forums for group owners and moderators and people concerned about the 3 R’s — reduce, reuse, and recycle. People join an online group (usually hosted by Yahoo!Groups) near where they live or work. Group members then post an OFFER or WANTED request following guidelines they receive upon joining. There are two main guidelines to follow … offers and requests made must be free, legal and family friendly.

Dan Hoffner – Co-founder, Couch-Surfing
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Three of the four co-founders, Casey Fenton, Daniel Hoffer, and Sebastien LeTuan, became close friends while working together at a dot com Daniel founded in 1999. Several years later, the idea for CouchSurfing solidified when Casey bought a cheap ticket to Iceland for a long weekend one April. He came up with the ‘brilliant’ idea of e-mailing over 1500 Icelandic students in Reykjavik and asking them if he could crash on one of their couches. Exchanging emails with many of the students, he then had several groups of friends offer to show him ‘their’ Reykjavik. After spending an amazing, crazy weekend just south of the Arctic Circle, Casey decided he would never again get trapped in a hotel and tourist marathon while traveling. Casey then invited Dan, Seb, and another friend and colleague of his, Leonardo Silveira, to co-found CouchSurfing.org with him.

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