Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Be Charitable - Give Away Your Best Stuff

This beautiful photo is by Pensiero.
"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." Quote by Howard Aiken from Rules for Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto for Creating and Marketing New Products and Services by Guy Kawasaki
If you're awake at all these days, you'll notice that the Web is FULL of all sorts of FREE PowerPoint decks, white papers, articles, blog posts, Twitter feeds and video about social media, marketing, communications, fundraising, etc. On top of that there is a HUGE collection of FREE services - Google, Technorati, Alltop, Digg, Scribd, SlideShare, and (of course) YouTube - to help organize and find this content. The Web is a virtual treasure trove of information - much of it good!

Why is it then, that I still hear this refrain from so many? "We can't just give our stuff away, people will steal our ideas."

Hmmm. I think hidden in this comment is arrogance and also ignorance about how the world works in the Connected Age. Don't get caught in the stingy trap.

1. Your ideas are not your ideas unless you have a patent pending. Do you really think you're that unique?

2. Adding value is the currency of the Web and is one of the best ways to market yourself - maybe the only way. People are inured of advertising and sales pitches.

3. Giving your best stuff away shows folks that you know your craft. This should make them MORE rather than LESS interesting in working with you.

4. Being charitable just feels better. Hoarding information takes lots of time and energy and drains your spirit.

OK. There is always an exception to the rule, i.e. those select few who will engage in copyright infringement, steal and go behind your back.

But don't run your business based on the values of the worst of us, attune to the best in humanity.


1 comment:

Andie said...

People who hesitate at being charitable probably have not read about "generation generosity". I totally agree with sharing your best stuff--especially online technologies. So what if you mention your competitor. If you know and believer you're the best, then people are going to flock to you and use your technology.

And no person on this planet is truly 100% that original.