比免費更好 Better Than Free

Kevin Kelly 是我在90年代 Wired雜誌中所認識的一個很奇特的人物,他並沒有讀過任何大學,年輕時跑到亞洲做一個專業攝影師,每次他的任何想法都深深地影響著我。他是少數幾個在 數位化的Network Economy(網狀經濟)中,我認為擁有大智慧的人,他有兩本書影響我很大:一本是1998年的《New rules for the new economy》,另一本是1995年的《Out of control》。如果您沒有看過這兩本書,您不能認為您了解什麼是New Economy(在90年代非常流行的新名詞)。

Kevin Kelly 的許多想法一直到目前仍是有影響力的,我們現在所看到的Open source movement、User generated contents(UGC)如:Youtube、Facebook、Wikipedia 都是他有名的hive mind(像蜜蜂巢一樣的心智—集體的智慧)概念。我一直認為我們可以、而且應該從成功的網路數位經營模式中學習,並建立一個實虛共存的混合經營模式。

最近我看到Kevin Kelly在他的個人網站www.kk.org中分享了他最新的想法,看完後我就有股衝動,想讓仍有理想主義特徵的年輕讀者,可以接觸到世界級大智慧者的最新想法。

絕大多數的企業,仍在以價格便宜為主要的競爭方式,消費者也仍以〝好康〞為決定購買的主因,若僅以這種價格取向的消費文化,很難產生出真正有質感的世界級 創意產品;但如果只一味以降低價格為競爭方式,那還有什麼比〝免費〞更好的呢?這也是我為什麼被Kevin Kelly《Better than free》的文章主題所吸引。

When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.
(有什麼不能輕易複製的呢?) 我們都已經知道〝信任〞不能複製,更不購買,〝信任〞是要經過時間才能「暫時」獲得的。Kevin Kelly認為有八件「原製性」(8 Generatives)事情是比免費更好的,讓人們會願意付錢購買。

1. Immediacy 即時性

2. Personalization 個人客製化

3. Interpretation 解說權
大家都知道的一個老笑話,軟體本身免費,但說明手冊會很貴。在未來製藥公司將免費替您做基因測試,但您要付高價才能知道基因的意義,及如何使 用基因資訊。

4. Authenticity 真實性

5. Accessibility 隨時隨地都可以取得

6. Embodiment 親身實地的

7.Patronage 熱心支持者

8.Findability 讓人看到您

從Kevin Kelly的文章中我們可以看得出,未來需要不同的技能在一個〝免費〞的世界中生存,很自然的,〝分享(Abundance breeds a sharing mindset.) 〞及〝大器(Generosity)〞將是一個新的經營模式。Kevin Kelly再一次提醒我們〝注意力(Attention)〞是在這麼多免費〝拷貝(copies)〞中最重要的元素,因此有愛與信任的品牌、實虛通路、獨 特的廣告,仍是爭取注意力的方法之一。雖然Kevin Kelly的這八個原製性(Generatives),只是對數位複製品有意義,但在目前實體產品越來越便宜的現實中,也越來越會需要運用這八個原製性的 觀點(例如:地圖、基因產品、無線上網、手機、小家電、藥品)。事實上成本已經趨近零(免費),一般我們買專利藥是在買Authenticity(真實 性)及 Immediacy (即時性),學名藥(失去專利的藥)的成本是近於零的。

Kevin Kelly歡迎大家寫回應給他,您知道有多少人寫長篇大論的回應嗎?這就是Kevin Kelly吸引人的地方,他的目的就是要〝知識人〞來到他的網頁集體分享、集體辯證。我現在也正在思考以這八個原製性(Generatives),創造出 一個實虛共存的新生意!

(轉載自朱先生在International Creative Business (ICB) 雜誌每月專欄)

1. 您可以思考在您的創意文化事業中,能否包含了Kevin Kelly的八個原製性(Generative)在〝免費〞的競爭環境中,走自己的路!

2. http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/01/better_than_fre.php 上網看Kevin Kelly《Better than free》的完整文章,對數位經濟有興趣的人一定要認識這位大師,也歡迎e-mail與我分享您的學習及心得。

Added on 2009-10-28
我剛發現了這個Kevin Kelly的演講,有中文字幕。

22 thoughts on “比免費更好 Better Than Free”

  1. Dear Mario:

    I am so sorry that I did not respond your most kind words to this blog sooner.

    As you noticed, it is this blog’s community that produced such a meaningful contents. I am just a conduit.

    I would be too humble if I did not expect to reach out readers like you who will see the quality is better than quantity. I always belief this blog is for those people who are ready.

    Please continue your support and engage with us with your keen observation and wisdom.

    Mario, you just made my day today.

    You made me wanting to do more. 🙂

    Together, we can initiate change,


  2. Exceptional is the only word I can find to describe your content. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve found such terrific writing. I concur with your points of interest. Great job!

  3. Dear friends:

    Kevin Kelly is my personal hero. I wish I had the wisdom he has. Please visit his blog.

    If we keep looking for bargain, we will soon only have jobs to create shabby products with no emotional connectedness.

    Our society will also become a discount society. No more quality works will be available for our future generation.

    Please remember: A bargain is only a bad loan.

    Let’s buy things or experience from the company that has the same values as ours.

    We vote with what we buy.

    Be the change,


  4. Dear IT:

    Thanks for posting this comment.


    “Better Than Free” is written by Kevin Kelly, a brilliant thinker, pioneer and philosopher.

    I do think there are lots of things better than free.

    How about ” Trust ” and ” Time”?

    I think there will be soon a new term on ” Trust Economy ” or ” Time economy “. 🙂

    Please spend time with Kevin Kelly. You will be more inspired by his way of seeing things.

    Be a curious person.


  5. Alex Ting brought to my attention a talk by Kevin Kelly on Youtube which is subtitled in Chinese. Just added this video to the post for people who are interested to watch it.

  6. You must be prepared to act on your dreams, just in case they do come true.”- Bill Strickland

    Dear Ru-Ling: You can do so many things in your part of the world. Please start from some baby steps to help people in any ways you choose. Your mom was a hero with big heart indeed.

    Poetry is coming back. I did once in my company long time ago by asking my team to bring a poems and recite with emotion loud. It was a very touching moment.

    I am certained that Obama will be next President of the USA. I have high hope in him but I am afraid he will be have the same fate as our President Ma. Too much expectation breeds too big disappointment.

    I am so happy to know that you are a TED junkie now. 🙂

    I always got a kick when I saw a great mind evolved in front of my eyes.

    I hope there will be a TED like business soon in Taiwan. You can access the brilliant minds from Taiwan too.

    Shining eyes,


  7. There is a very interesting article in today’s New York Times. It’s about the young innovator, Johnny Chung Lee, who was in a TED video that I happened to watch the other day. It was the familiar pictures from the paper that first caught my eyes. Luckily, I get to know the story behind that video better now.

    Things distinguishing about him:

    He measures success in terms of impact, not dollars. Part of the reason he chose to work for Microsoft is that the company’s enormous customer base represents “real potential to help people.”

    He aims at the innovations that “provide 80 percent of the capability at 1 percent of cost” to generate “surprising and often powerful results both scientifically and socially.”

    For sure, the momentum built by his ideas is a good example of ripple effect that is reaching far and wide, fast. You see, the ripple is reaching me too.

  8. Gosh, You are something. Too much material imposed on me to read and digest them all at once. This reminds me a friend of mine who well-intentionally pushed me to think about writing a children’s book when I told her about my budding passion for writing and she even provided me with a plot and materials for a story she thought might be appealing to the readers. But, I decided I was not that much into a children’s story-telling. So the answer was thanks, but no thanks! And I didn’t blink. ( Hey, you know I am using the words from Palin’s) Ah, don’t get me started on her.

    Joking aside, I now realize why my friend’s daughters are so outstanding in their academic pursuits and why you are so successful in your pursuit of your idealism. Hmm, that leaves me something to ponder about why I am what I am now. Ok, chalk this up as a shallow touch upon our differing temperaments.

    I watched a few videos from TED, the one from Bill Strictland was very moving and inspiring. I fell into sleep in the middle of it due to the insufficient sleep in the previous night. It’s all the late-night cup of coffee’s fault, not the speech’s. His speech had a soothing effect, though, and that definitely contributed to my doze-off. Ha! One thing that strikes me deeply is that while he was giving a speech, it felt like he was singing a classic song. This reminds me of another similar surprise I had: Some years ago while I was living in Beijing, I heard the poem “Motherland (?)” (can’t recall the title, seems he got an award for it), written and recited by the renowned poet, Yu Kwang Chung, on TV. That is one of the most beautiful art forms that I guess can exist on the earth. It was such a touching delivery and ’til this day I remain deeply impressed by his talent.

    Mr. Strictland’s charitable acts reminds me my late mother. Do you remember you saw her many years ago in Houston? She passed away two years ago in Flushuing, NY, one month shy of her 93rd birthday. A long and courageous life she lived. In the last years of her life, she did numerous charitable acts in the community and earned an enormous respect of people from all walks of life. In retrospect, she taught me a lot by her own exemplary, yet I didn’t follow her footsteps in many ways that she wished. A woman of big heart and perseverance, that’s my Mother.

    I have one word about Obama: “Gorgeous.” I stubbornly think this word, however unconventional, befits him perfectly, considering his intelligence, his temperament, his manners, and…his smile. BTW, Michelle is very smart, too. She’s on par with him in the intelligence department. Hopefully, this couple can be the transformational leaders that we desperately need now.

  9. Dear Ru Ling:

    I can see from the Neocounter when you log in. Your writing always contributes the collective wisdom here.

    This site is still in experimenting mode. I have a close friend who is taking care of this site’s organization for me. I just don’t like the conventional Taiwan or Chinese free blogsite design. It is so crowded with so many colors to distract our eyes. Again, aesthetic is a very personal thing.

    Have you seen Palin’s youtube. It is so funny and scary at the same time. I think McCain made a critical mistake to recruit Palin as Vice President. This has demonstrated that he is desperated to secure the fundamentalists vote. This also convinced me that he will be hostaged by these fundamentalist to make any bold change in American’s policy.

    I am always Obama’s fan. He represnts the true American spirit. I also want him to be American President.

    Yes, please visit


    You will see that there are lots of world class thinkers out there. We all can be inspired by these brilliant minds.



  10. Some of my thoughts to share:

    I like the layout of your blog site. As a late comer to the blog scene (Just started looking into the political blog earlier this year because of the excitement generated in this Presidential Election), I find this site well-designed and user-friendly. Thank you for allowing me this platform to freely express my thoughts of the moment.

    I can’t agree with you more about the root causes of the economic meltdown in the US that is dangerously spreading around the world now. The last time we saw the similar housing speculation was 30 years ago, right? History is repeating itself only that it’s much more serious this time around. This gives me some reflection on the age-old platitude, “Feng Shui turns on a 30-year-cycle.” The great Chinese sage advice is never out of style, isn’t it?

    The US presidential Election is looking more and more like the elections held in Taiwan in the recent past. Fear-mongering, anti-intellectual, divisive tactics abound. The fact is, with the human nature being it is, there should not be any surprise about the close resemblance at all.

    Lastly, you caught me when you advised me to read the full contents of the original article by Kevin Kelly. I thought about it when I was reading “Better Than Free.” Got lazy this time. Will try to find time to squeeze it in in the however far future.

    Another good day passing, thank you.

  11. Hey, Jason.

    Thank you for dropping by. I just visited your Big Question blog. It is a very encouraging sign to see young people start reaching out and making a difference in their own way. If anyone is interested in Big Question ( BQ ), please visit their new blog. http://thebigq.org

    We shall talk.


  12. Dear Jimmy:

    You are right on. All technology is here to increase our life quality. The pendulum will be shifted back to value more physical contact ( embodiment ) from the virture cyber world. The city design is also shifted to high density urban design so people can have more opportunity to mingle and to interact.

    Stange enough, the small business will become a new Third Place to integrate work and life with a higher purpose.

    This is where I am most interested in at this moment.

    I am experiment to find a model to create work and life integration.

    Thank you for contributing your thoughts and make this blog your blog too.


  13. Dear Ru Ling:

    I will recommend you to read the original English article from http://www.kk.org Kevin Kelly is a pioneer in the digitalized world. You will find more info on his website and especially the long and engaging comments he got from his peers.

    I am certainly not the expert in his expertise which these generatives works best in a digitalized products. All digitalized products is virtually a zero cost to copy once it is done. I just think we can adopt these 8 generatives to some of our brick and motal business. You are right that you don’t need to have all 8 generatives to make it a compelling business model.

    Mass personalization is possible now with the new technology. The question is still valid: Will the customer really want this or at how much they are willing to pay for it.

    Crowdsorucing is only possible because of the network effect of the internet. Now, more people have the access of the broadband, the video and other rich media can flow freely at the most efficient way. This is why youtube and other social network business flourished. However, they need to find a better way than free. Now, you got it. KK is trying to remind youtube or social network people they will need to follow these generatives to have a revenue model that is better than free to their users.

    Again, it is common sense after you read it. Now, the difficult part is to put it into use. I am thinking about it now.

    If you examine my business closely. I tried to utilize all these generatives. Salon/spa business is an embodiment and personalized service. My wholesale distribution service is to build up the accessibility and findability. My Canmeng Institute is to have the interpretation and patronage with our own home grown students. My company’s culuture is the authenticity. This blog is to have the immediacy and all other generatives. 🙂

    Please contine your ciritical thinking and energize this site’s intellectural contents. As I said before, the crowdsoucing will be too crowded and the paradigm is ready to shift to more expert driven contents. I still don’t know when the elitism becomes a bad and political incorrect word. 🙂

    All significant changes are started from a small thoughtful and committed citizens, not from crowd. ( Margaret Mead. )



  14. Dear Freda:

    Yes, I just wrote something about the meltdown of the financial system in the States on my next ICB column.

    It is a rude awakening for chasing the non-producing paper game. The CDO and CDS are so opaque that no one really knows their real risk. Again, it is the reward system that these CEO is willing to put their company at risk to get the short term high bonus and stock options. This is a pure greed and lack of the integrity and outside governance. They use shareholders asset to take huge risk and get the huge profit for themselves. However, when the company failed, all they suffred is the loss of job, loss of face and still keep the obscene salary and bonus they devised during the good time. This is something fundamentally wrong with this business rewarding practice. I think more regulation about the reward system will be in need so the management will also be responsible for the loss due to their irresponsible decision. Part of their profit sharing ( at least 50%) or bonus will be vested over at least five years after their leaving of the CEO office.

    Now, people will realize that the honest work that create honest job is the real economic growth. The finance game with high leverage and high reward will be out of favor now, not will never be gone. All the brilliant MBAs from the Ivey league will settle for a more humble and meanignful work. They are the one who creative these esoteric financial derivatives that sucked so much money for the high yield seeking public.

    Actually, this economic turmoil hurt the rich people who have more money and are not satisfied to take the honest CD interest as a return. All average worker, like me, have never thought to put money in Lehman brothers or Bear Sterns for those high yield swap game or hedge fund that rich people play.

    There is no easy money. Whenever the deal is too good to be true, it is usually right. There is no such good things in the world.
    Now is only the pay back time.

    However, I believe America will bounce back with stronger financial system. It is a good thing. Like Leonard Cohen’s Anthem I posted today:

    “There is crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”



  15. Dear Mr. Chu,


    The possibility to create a bonding experience.



    反而讓人少了real touch的機會,因為那被看為沒有競爭力的行為。


    就是在一次被當成living person的感覺。


    The possibility to create a bonding experience.


    Thank you for the article.

  16. Ha ha, this material sure is so dry that I have waited ’til an “optimum” time to read it . Finally, the time came 10 minutes ago when I felt mentally acute and could stay attentive long enough. Yes, I finished the reading.

    Well, thanks to your kind introduction and clear interpretation, it wasn’t that intimidating as I had first thought. Looking around the new consumer products/new services provided by some leading global companies in high-tech, music, or pharmaceutical industry, it seems, if I am not mistaken, the underlying theories as outlined by Kevin Kelly have been widely applied now.

    As a person who gets lost easily in this new age or “New Economy” (no idea about it yet), this topic, especially when applied to internet or whatever computer-related world, decidedly is not in my comfort zone. In spite, I have a few questions here:

    1. Is the concept outlined in his article a gradual convergence of the new ideas that have been deployed by a group of creative and forward-thinking entrepreneurs and that he sorted out after the fact? In other words, Is he one of the pioneers who started this concept or is he one of the firsts who systematically introduced the collective ideas to the general public? I would imagine the latter one prevails.

    2. Did the highly successful i-series products introduced by Apple Computer utilize the same concept? I would think so.

    3. The more of the 8 generatives adopted by the consumer products/services, the better? It varies, I think.

    4. Does this concept need to have an accompanying prosperous economy to sustain it? After all, the i-phones are not inexpensive.

    5. Can all kinds of consumer products/services adopt this concept? Any examples that may not?

    I recall in the early 1990’s the Levi’s Strauss & Co. introduced a personalized line of jeans that allowed consumers to submit their measures and custom-order their jeans through a computer. The venture failed, quietly as contrasted with the big hoopla it received in the beginning. More recently, The Dell Computers also had this kind of marketing for it’s PC. if my memory serves me right, it is not going well and they are closing it down. Are these two examples falling to the item 2 Personalization category?

    It’s an interesting article, yet I am not confident to say I have a firm grasp of it. Thus the above questions (they may miss the mark) were raised.

    Wish you success in finding a business that can adopt the concept promoted by Kevin Kelly in this article.

  17. Hey, Administrator, could you remove my previous posting? I need to correct some mistakes. I will post it again later. Thanks.

  18. Ha ha, this material sure is so dry that I have to wait ’til an “optimum” time to read it. Finally, the time came 10 minutes ago when I felt mentally acute and could stay attentive long enough. Yes, I finished the reading.

    Well, thanks to your interpretation, it wasn’t that intimidating as I had first thought. Looking around the new sales and marketing techniques used by some leading global companies in high-tech, music, or pharmaceutical industry, it seems the underlying theories as outlined by Kevin Kelly have been applied widely now. By your kind introduction and clear elucidation, I now have a better understanding about the theory behind the smart sales gimmicks utilized by Steve Jobs, Google, etc. Thanks.

    Wish you success in finding a business that can adopt the concept promoted by Kevin Kelly in this article.

  19. Yes, I have forwarded KK’s address to all my kids. Ricky, my son-in-law is in internet marketing business, and my son is on his start-up project using networks on internet. They may know about KK already, I guess. And I will pay more attention to his site as you recommended. Internet is a huge thing in our daily life now, I basically can not function at work if the internet is down.

    As for the economy, the meltdown has been coming for a while ever since the oil price started sky rocketing, so mostly people have been taking precaution. To me, it looks like the effect is not as bad as the crash of 1987. People are still going on with their business as usual. Only in malls, we see less people buying or spending. May be that is what we need, to go back to basics.

  20. Dear Freda:
    Dear Freda:

    You are the first one to write the feedback on this dry material. Actually, I am very interested in the world of Internet. I believe we can learn so much from this ever changing industry. Kevin Kelly is a real heor of mine. You should bookmark his site and read some of his writings. I also recommend your son to bookmark his site so he can be inspired to do new things.

    Taiwan’s Internet market is still too small to sustain any world class business. China is the ideal market for Internet based business.

    Can you believe what had happened in the meltdown of the financial market in the States? The greed is the ultimate reason for this disaster.

    Good to chate with you.


  21. I totally love these ideas. More or less like a logic of a religion. Thank you for posting. Even though I am not a businessman, all these ideas we learn could be applied to our daily life too. These could be many phases of a personality that is smart, wise, bright, friendly and ready to help.

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