There are companies/brands that sell you things. And, then there are companies that sell YOU. This may sound weird, but if are a working in an environment which offers you almost everything free, and easy, signs are you are being used. And, you consume and align your growth within the same ecosystem.

There are many examples, but the biggest lobster of all is F*book. A company that gives you a free service that you use, and have never and will never pay for, is somehow worth one hundred billion dollars selling your identities.

F**book was such a crazy fad, until WhatsApp romped in with their blazing fast servers and cloud telephony. After the former gobbled up for $19 billion few years earlier, its now alleged now as as one of the most unprofitable investments (sic) by the same company. How exciting a world where companies who made zillions selling your identities are worrying about losing a single zero! So, why pay for something when you are the product? Why do we work all day to give our own identities away for FREE?

Here's the 3rd version. Pay, and get sold also!

Until the penetration of NetFlix, AmazonPrime into mainstream subscribers, we never realized there was a 3rd way where companies sell both the product and "you". Yes, When NetFlix/Amazon says "Hey, if you give us 80 bucks a month, we will give you the privilege of watching content funded primarily by advertising" is not something really true!

They are selling you as a product to content makers, and vice versa! There is no "loyalty points" even if you are a paying customer. It's basic supply vs demand tweaked to perfection. Film makers handover their scripts, NetFlix/Amazon dominates the movie making industry in few years, and constantly understands what you watch and track your genres. All this is a price you pay, even as a paying customer.

Investor A: Don’t focus on $, prove your monetization strategy in early adopter. Investor B: Why charge early adopters? Focus on make something people love ! Investor C: If users like product & willing to pay, how can we get 100M users?

To those who smoke/vape: why do you pay premium to a company, which in turn gives you cancers?

Everyone on the planet will insist that you don't even look at ads. And you'll insist that you aren't even conscious of what's getting hawked over there or possibly over there, (damn you, spatial intelligence!) and you'll inevitably believe that you get the better end of the bargain because, of course, you get the thing you want for free and the ad has no effect on you. Why else do you think something is even free? They’re selling YOU.

What advertisers want you to think and how corporations actually have a really good idea of how advertisements affect your behavior. In fact, there are many thousands of people who are working full time to make sure that the ADs you see are worth more than they cost. To put it succinctly, almost by definition, advertisers buy you for less than you're worth. "If you are not paying for it, you become the PRODUCT!"

Major corporations have spent $498 trillion on advertising itself till 2019. And you may think that that advertising doesn't affect your behavior, but there is HALF A TRILLION DOLLARS that says otherwise. Generating prospects isn't so hard with such a budget! You and I and anyone who uses Fbook, Twitter, Ggle or Angry Birds has agreed to be commodified.

".. Fbook has been paying publishers like BuzzFeed & NYTimes to post a certain number of live videos every week!"

Many social networking sites that collect vast amounts of user data are financed by ads. It's not a bad decision, but it is a decision that should be made thoughtfully and consciously. None ever has been totally comfortable with "being sold", but it's always felt like the best solution to allow us to make the stuff that we like with people we like.

A recent Pew Research poll claims 93% public believes that “being in control of who can get information about them is important,” and yet the amount of information we generate online has exploded & we seldom know where it all goes.

Here's another story,

Few years back a large defence client called Lockheed Martin (renowned for its air combat weapons like F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning) wanted to outsource a titanic back-end sh*t-load of administrative work on a tender basis. And, one Indian company seized the deal claiming it had 5x the manpower required for this large project which mandated hiring in millions in workforce legally binding! It might be very demanding, but this H1B abusing MNC wanted to play the hard ball. The workforce was hired like sheep, jam packed in buses, were paid peanuts, and asked to sit on bench, in a shift basis, wear a tie on every alternate days, and swipe their cards without fail. Ideally, by squatting on a desk these monkeys believed they could make millions, while the company was making trillions with simply showing its unskilled head-count.

Have you ever seen how companies love to catch customers and reel 'em in like fish with free publicity? Well, most are progressing with using online videos as bait. Viral videos are the latest trend in Internet marketing, and thanks to social media! Everyone perhaps wants to create a video that "goes viral" and receives millions of hits within a few days or weeks with minimal production costs and a huge impact on their sales. But, why do people cosume this worthless content? It's fairly easy. No Freakonomics. Companies have an interest in manipulating our attention on behalf of advertisers, instead of letting us be ourselves.

Human proclivity

There is no free lunch. This is not a curse — it’s a blessing. But, if you decide to add a tag, and if people pay for something, you can’t just refuse to give them the product. Pricing matters, and how you price it makes you winner/loser, and here's why. If you had to pay 25-50% more for a product made from recycled plastic would you? Your worth is only what people are willing to pay however good your intentions are really.

Ever wondered why a Global brand like McDonalds decided to add spicy rice, soups, and noodles to their menus? People will use your product in supremely magical unintended ways – Pay attention. Deconstruct the behavior. Ask yourself, “Is there something we can extend, build on, modify?”  The user will show you the way if you let them. Your paying customers rule the land.

Client: I love your work and don't see anything to change, but I'm worried about posting this content because the product isn't actually that good. Me: Then why did you pay for me to do a project about a product you know doesn't work and are only telling me now?

A product is never finished. Products that people are "paying", are purely instinctively — without thinking — the most powerful. Stop asking “What are are people willing to pay for?”  Keep asking the question, “What are people already doing with my product?”.

".. 2x your lead generation means, you've to pay attention to your product & best medium by which it can be sold."

The proclivity to pay attention to minor things has had large-scale implications in product development. When you were a product of mentoring, pay it forward. Don't just cheer for the startups and small businesses. Do your part. Leave behind your heartache, cast away. Buy startup's products. Pay for their services. If the product is not for you, get other people who it might need it to see it. Flattery is not a substitute for payment. If someone claims to value your product, service, or creation, the highest compliment they can pay you is to purchase it.

Do you sell your product? Do you want every % of your traffic to say "I want to be a customer, not a product". Well, there is no catch. Ask yourselves when considering a new product idea: Don't worry about "how much they will be willing to pay" That question never converts in reality. Who wants this like real bad? Why do they want it? Where can I find them? Aim to keep your pricing better.

After interviewing dozens of buyers we've realized the most important product question is a self-acutalization: "Who would pay for this, and why?" This is why it's important to stop working pro bono. When you draw a pricing strategy in sales, you insist customers pay and there comes "resistance". This backdraft is natural. When you ask people to pay when they're used to getting things for free they get angry. That's one reason why content creators, writers, artists, makers and journalism have the same problem. Why pay for something you can get a better product for free?

Keep hustling!