Nothing is free. Not even this headline.
When David Armano describes the "Gift Economy," he rightly puts the word "free" in quotes. He does so, I suspect, because he realizes, like economist Milton Friedman said, "There is no free lunch." More accurately, nothing finite is free. But what we have in infinite abundance is worthless.
Love is free. Commitment is not.
You could say, for instance, that love may be infinite and therefore can be free.
But if I say, "I love my fellow man," yet do nothing to demonstrate that love with my time, what value is it for me to say "I love my fellow man?"
This website is not free.
You may think that this website is free. It isn't.
If you've gotten this far, you're voluntarily paying me with your attention, and for that payment you probably expect to see or read something entertaining or enlightening.
If I don't deliver, you may be reluctant to return.
If I do, you may subscribe to this blog's RSS feed.
Your attention is valuable.
And lest you believe I don't value your attention, know that between last night and this morning, I probably spent about 45 minutes thinking about this morning's post. I'll also take another 30 minutes or so to write it, given time for editing and proofing.
This says nothing at all of the time I continuously spend trying to improve the veracity of my thoughts or the manner in which I can deliver them in order to gain and keep your trust.
How to love your customers
When you say you love your customers or clients, do you mean it, or do you simply value the revenue stream they represent?
We value money because it is scarce and because it allows us to buy other things that are scarce, but time is the great equalizer. Some people have more money than others, but each of us has the same number of hours in a day.
And we're all going to die one day.
Therefore, the first way you should show your customers you love them is by respecting their time.
If you're not going to help them make their time more enjoyable (and don't overestimate your ability to do that with marketing fluff), help them use their time more effectively. Stop treating them as if their time -- or their loyalty -- is free.
It isn't. Nothing is. Not even this closing sentence. - Cam Beck