A flip side: the asymmetrical gift

23 Feb

by Seth Godin –

Yesterday I bummed you out with a riff about favors becoming impossible to fulfill. Worth a thought: the alternative, the good news that comes with the bad, is the massive asymmetric gift.

A gift is not a favor, because no recompense is implied or expected. A gift is just from me to you, that’s it.

The internet makes it easy to give gifts to large numbers of people at very very low cost. Editing a wikipedia article, for example, is a gift for the ages, one that might be seen by a million people over three years.

This leads to a new clause in the social contract. In this environment, we expect that civilized participants will give. Just because. Because they can. Because the gift makes all of it work better.

While mass favors have to fade (too easy to ask for, too unfair at scale), mass gifts show up to change the equation. Gifts are easy to scale, now, the more generous, the better. For all of us.


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2 responses to “A flip side: the asymmetrical gift

  1. Building Guru

    February 23, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Love Seth Godin’s insights. There is a human need for information as well as a belief that information should be free – to a point. That will never change.


      February 23, 2011 at 10:48 am

      I hate re-publishing him so often, but sometimes they are just so good I have to share with the rest of the folks (yes, there are some left) that don’t get a chance to read him every day.


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