The phenomenon of FREE lunches

The phenomenon of FREE lunches


“How much lower can you go?” is a typical attempt of bargains. This phenomenon is typically found everywhere, including the B2B environment. Price, more often than not, becomes a key consideration when it comes to large projects.

How did this phenomenon even begin?

Began in 1850 in USA and to a lesser extent in Britain, the power of the zero has never been so deceptive these days that people fall for it the moment it is being mentioned. In his book, Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University, depicts how in a simple experiment he conducted in the campus, people would opt for the FREE Hershey’s kisses despite the bargained 5 cents Lindt chocolate (which price you won’t be able to obtain in the market).

Who doesn’t want FREE stuff, you think?

Naturally, it is understood that human are pained to spend, consciously or subconsciously, and the option for ‘FREE’ is an opportunity too tempting to be missed. But too many ‘FREE’ give you unrealistic expectations on the amount of money you should pay for a proper tool. In terms of business software services – which are laden of ‘FREE’ offerings, including video-conferencing such as Skype and GoogleTalk – the benchmark of ‘FREE’ may hurt businesses and customers alike.

There are hidden costs of FREE, which many people are not always aware of.

There are all kinds of ‘FREE’ software in the world; those that are limited in period, free forever with limited features, but there are some which are free because, well, it is really, really bad. Freeware, shareware, adware and open source are software that is quite literally free. And while it doesn’t cost anything, it’s built to encourage you to spend money on something else. iTunes is a great example. Downloading and using iTunes is completely free. And it’s a great application. But it’s designed to work best with an iPod, and to gently coax you into buying music and videos from the iTunes store. Online video games are notorious for using this model as well.

But most small businesses probably have no idea how to use it or even where to get it.

About the only thing you can’t get for free these days is tech support. And that is exactly when IT business consultants play a significant role to ensure that the amateurs do not fall deeper into the abyss of actually spending more than they should.
A friendly advice is to stick with freeware when it’s available. And use open source if you have a geek staff. Other than that, pay the good money and ensure you have a product that is suited to your requirements and compatible with your customers or business partners.

Because there are lots of ways to get a good meal at a reasonable price if you know where to look.