The Law of Free.

See Chris Anderson´s March 2008 WIRED article FREE! Why $0,00 Is The Future of Business. It encapsulates why, in many ways, we will never get there as a nation. The article is forward-looking, savvy, daring, uncompromising… and it flows. The almost-absolute opposite of our count-the-cents national (P) culture. Essential reading, really. Whether it is uncompromisED, that´s another story, but we don´t mind – more urgent points press on.

I remember Artur telling me his story of attempting to charge his laptop at an electrical plug in a Portuguese coffee house. He was told by the waiter he could not do it. “Electricity costs money, you know?”. Yet when A. offered to pay, the waiter said double-no.

Contrast that with the ultra-trendy, ultra-expensive cappuccinos you drink on the other side of the world. Come on, it´s not the goddamn drink you´re paying for, and you know it – you obviously buy the whole experience: the sights, the calculated friendliness (nothing against it, honest to God), the cleanliness, the musical selection, the cool of it all, the right to occupy a table for five hours, the right to charge your thirsty laptop battery… the right to not worry. Really, just bar culture under the sunshine.

Not that Anderson´s article sets any everlasting paradigm on everlasting freedom. It is simply a snapshot of “now” directed at the unaware. Yet we need to begin foreseeing beyond the current state of overabundance, even as the generative, viral-like, gorgeous slow-motion catastrophe entrances us all. Yes, we need to go through this, but yes, we need to prepare for what will be. And what might be is, IMNSHO, a need for restriction. Voluntary restriction. Who knows, maybe even paying in order not to access. The first signs are already out there. Rapidshare, anyone?

By the way: Anderson is hot right now. His “Long Tail” is the buzzword of the moment – run for it if you must. SXSW Interactive was full of people quoting it, left, right and centre. Interestingly, they were not quoting him, just quoting it. That, and the inevitable Twitter. Oh, I´m shopping, how about that? But I digress…

The Long Tail. Portuguese translation urgently needed, so we can stay afloat.
If it´s already out there, could someone kindly inform me?
If not… any takers?

P.S. (if you want to call it such): it is remarkable how fiction TV shows are struggling to catch up with real life. The writer´s strike has affected the pace, essence and structure of what would otherwise be deemed total fantasy. Stranger than fiction? Faster than light? (Blaine, those were prophetic words waaaay back then.)

The already sky-high stakes of LOST´s season three finale will obviously have to be upgraded for season four, and yet we were almost left with a circumstantial anti-climax instead. All is well now, and all thirteen episodes promise some sort of coherence – but for how long? Two more years means another two hundred years in contemporary media terms. LOST may just disintegrate before it comes full circle. The geek in me says “please don´t”.

Yours truly signs off and boards the next plane,

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One thought on “The Law of Free.

  1. Heitor – Anderson aside, how funny that you and I *did* charge our laptops at a French restaurant in Austin. What I always marvel at is how accommodating certain places are to helping people get things done…one quality of a “creative” city perhaps.

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