Gladwell, Godin, Cuban and “Free”

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about Chris Anderson’s new book “Free”. Malcolm Gladwell’s review of “Free” makes the point that even free comes at a cost.

Most photographers can certainly attest to that. And marketing guru Seth Godin makes the point that the paradigm is changing and that all the whining in the world won’t bring back “the old days”. Mark Cuban chimes in as well to provide more perspective and perhaps the most balanced of the lot. While no one has a crystal ball and can predict the future, this new paradigm of “free” has already changed the lives of photographers and all content creators.

It has been stated numerous times by others that “content” must be unique and such that it is not found anywhere else. The drop in what stock images are being licensed for can attest to that. In addition because of technology a photographer can no longer just be a technician.

But aside from those observations I think that photographers need to position themselves as being more than just the content producer. Unless of course what you do is so unique or great that a buyer can go nowhere else. Certainly one way is to partner with others or position yourself further up the ladder or both. What I have learned so far about social media marketing is that really anyone can position themselves to whomever and however they want – with little or no cost. It’s free right? Well to a certain extent. But it is or can be a demand on one’s time and could be a waste of time if not done strategically.

Technology is and always has been a double edge sword – just like a bad economy. If one chooses to look in the rear view mirror and lament the past – they’ll drive by all the opportunities.


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