Monetizing a Startup: Definitely Not Free!

Sunday 30 August 2009 Just finished my coffee and reading today’s Sunday NY Times article, "Using ‘Free’ to Turn a Profit" by D.Darlin. A twitter follow, Amber Cadabra, tweeted that, "Free in itself meant zip" and so it made me think how that single word was still important to many who respond to online offers. In the B2B tech world, it is a cyclical tome dragged out every now and again to ponder the human fascination with the word itself in advertising. So much content has been pushed using "Free" as its main modifier that if it were abolished, lots of creative folks would be lost. It is especially memorable since the Internet has been on the scene, and we see how software companies have modified the ‘free’ strategy to monetize a service and grow to become a candidate for acquisition. To create revenue streams and build an argument for being acquired, while offering free services, is a bit of a coup. The VC idea of the ‘freemium‘ as described in the article to charge the ‘early adaptors,’ who find the services valuable, which will offset the casual freebies, has held promise where executed carefully. Audience planning is paramount. The last dozen years have not provided clarity as to who would win, or was winning, the battle for the next big wave of technologies or even platforms. Proprietary methods are still in use and not every one is on board with how to bring a solution to the now delicate technology market. So statups test their creative juices looking for ways to stay afloat and survive the blip before we see the killer apps that are just around the bend. It’s not clear either how any of the services will be paid. Free, however, is going to recycle its mystery in many ways.

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Sunday is apparently a good morning for news touting ‘free’ as a reason to follow lots of topics. For the evolution of the technologies that the world is fixated on, Free doesn’t seem to hurt. "VMs Are Not Free – The IT Administrator’s Myth-Busting Guide" The use of the ironical ‘Not Free’ is a first and updates how the challenge for virtual data centers was really how to monetize across the enterprise and how to realize significant management of IT distribution. Cost accounting to pinpoint which departments were using IT costs is reminiscent of the old main frame days. The validation of increases in productivity still challenge the relationships between CIO’s and CFO’s, even, in most high flying organizations and change mystifies the best of them. seems to illuminate the cost and should allow organizations to do everything better. Looks like ‘free’ and its cohorts will remain in our headlines for a while longer, but just how entrepreneurs and startups deal with challenging the status quo and innovating for the future is something we want to know about and share? We’d like to spotlight leading startup ideas that share our community. Let us know if you have a hot startup and how it will affect the technology community and we’ll share it with all.


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