HR SCI-FI: When Everything Is Free

Check out this excerpt from “The Big Moo”:

“What if your company’s business model was like that of public broadcasting? That is, all of your products [and services] are free. You can only earn revenue by convincing your customers to donate money that represents of their value of of your product.”

The book goes on to point out that thousands of public radio stations successfully run their businesses this way every year. How would that change how we conduct business?

What would we do differently to survive? Here are my predictions:

  1. Word of mouth would become even more important.
  2. Only firms/talent pros with an intense focus on quality would survive. Outstanding quality could help to ensure that our customers valued our products enough to donate enough to keep us employed.
  3. Our relationship with our clients would change. We’d treat our clients (internal and external) more like family.
  4. Continuous learning would be a major priority — and no one would care about CE credits either. Instead, we’d be focused on demonstrating practical skill advancements. Our employees would need to be multidimensional and would need to be have their fingers on the pulse of what’s coming next.

Sure — it’s total sci-fi right now. But it’s still an interesting question: if price competition went into hyperdrive, what would change? And what, if any, of those changes should we make now simply because it’s the right move?

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