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What's Free and What's Not?

David Sherry
3 min read

Money is like a form energy. We transfer it to what we need, but we also use it like a vote which is reflective of our wants and needs.

And so where value is deemed to be created, value is then transferred.

But value changes over time, and with new technology giving rise to new wants and needs.

We now need the Internet, and we now want Skins for our Fortnite characters or to attend a music festival.

That meansWhat's Free and What's Not changes, and we discover and develop new models for sharing value between one another.

I've been having many discussions behind the scenes here at CC with members who are interested in going deeper with this newsletter/community and it's made me think a lot about how I want to build communities in the future and what people value.

The easy routes are already covered:You can make a course, start a paid community, start a paid newsletter, write a book, or any other generalized variation here.

For better or for worse, my focus has always been on consumption and creation based on what's happening at the edges.

So I want to share what I believe WON'T be free.

Basically, I'm attempting to answer the question:"What is worth charging for?" as we head into the future.

I've already run many experiments here, and I'm continuing to learn more (and will share).

Here's what I'm seeing.


In my online course, Generously Human, the course has a simple flow that is very effective. Each lesson has a call to action at the end. Members reply with their ideas, answers, or homework and thenI give personalized feedback based on what I see.

Asking the right question at the right time is incredibly valuable.

Almost every student who had a great experience told me that the feedback was just as valuable if not more so than the lessons themselves.


We simply don't value things that are free as much as those things that we have to work for or pay for. For myself, and others I'm seeing that paying for something is a way of creating the right structural tension needed for you to follow through.

If you want to commit to a change in yourself, paying for it helps. In a world of distraction, we use commitment like a sanctuary/force function for what we want.


Like freelancing, I expect short term sprints as a working relationship between individuals and companies to increase over time, even outside of typical fields (Design/dev).

The friction for hiring an "independent mind" for your project is decreasing and the upside is increasing.

You "turn on" a new artist/mind who uses their unique framework to help you solve a problem and then you both go on your way. New influences shift your trajectory, and this works well for both parties.

This gig is hired based on personal work history and typically based on their brand (which is also the subject of what I've been discussing a lot lately, namely "personal authorship").


A while back I wrote a post about networking that people really seemed to resonate with. It's hard to build your network, and it's hard to maintain it. If you can put together theright typeof people that help each other grow, and shortcut the time to having a robust network that supports you, it feels like there is value here.

To be honest I'm still trying to work through this. I'm unsure if people would pay for this, despite how valuable even a single introduction can be for someone.Opportunities surface through networks

I suppose this is what conferences are for?


This is effectively what Patreon, membership sites and PayPal links have helped with.

There's a good feeling that you get knowing that you're contributing to ongoing creation, and there's a karma that seems to go around. I pay for multiple newsletters or Patreon pages simply because I want to support them. It feels good.

I have never tested this.


Above all else, the ongoing discussion between the Creator and their Audience IS what is valuable today.

This is the structure that creates the momentum, for both sides, and allows new value structures to be built.

This is central to everything I talk about and typically runs through Free Mediums that have scale of audiences (social media).

The reason for this is that ideas multiply in networks.

Which is why I open up discussions where possible.

To thrive moving forward we need a collaborative mindset that lives in this between space. Almost everything I listed has a flavor of being on the same side of the table working with one another for positive change.

I'm curious, are you paying for something that you value which you weren't before?

Hit reply and let me know what you think.

And as always, let me know how I can help,

xx David