[box type=”note” size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”]”I had a pet peeve once… It ran away!” – Steven Wright[/box]
SOPA… It's Not Italian Irish Spring!
Unless you've been under a rock lately, you've probably heard of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) which is a bill that's supposed to protect internet content from being stolen or shared without copywriter protection. Since I'm a person who produces content that's sold on the Internet, I can totally appreciate what the bill was intending to do… but in its complete form, it would have made just simply sharing this blog a crime. That's why people were so up in arms!
There are 2 sides to this argument. First, by freely sharing content we are making the world a better place. Second is… people think that because it's on the internet… IT'S FREE! Things like this blog and other content across the Internet are designed to give you just enough information to make you want to explore actually doing a project with a consultant or company (hopefully it generates a phone call or email).
If you go on Facebook, you'll see people posting pictures, links to articles, and a whole lot more. All of that would've gone down the toilet and would have made Twitter, news sites (Mashable, CNBC, or whatever), and Google almost irrelevant. We all constantly skirt a thin line between simply sharing interesting content, and plagiarizing or stealing!
Most sites give a link or an embed code to share content. This means that you are just copying and sharing the URL that is linking back to the original content, where the author or organization gets credit for it. Taking content, modifying it, and posting it to your own website or email is stealing!
Just because you find an image on Google that's funny, does not give you the legal right to copy and post it to your own website or marketing materials. I learned that lesson the hard way when I used an image that was imbedded in a Powerpoint™ from a previous employer. When I temporarily posted it to my website and thought I had taken it down, I got a major wake-up call in the form of a FedEx with the bill for $12,000!!! But this SOPA bill could have made lawyers richer and my bill look like a McDonald's $1 menu receipt!!!
What is free doesn't come cheaply…
One of the most intriguing things about being on the Internet is that you can Google or YouTube just about anything. Ask my wife who calls herself the ‘Google Queen'… need a recipe, have a question, check a fact, want to learn needlepoint or to play guitar… Google it! Admittedly, we've all learned something from the internet.
Businesses have to learn to embrace their strengths, enhance their weaknesses and pick their battles. Just because you can learn to use a scalpel and see an open heart surgery on the internet… does not necessarily make qualified to try it on your friends and family.
That's a question I have to ask you… Just because you can learn to do it… does it always make sense to DIY (Do It Yourself)?
Here some things to think about…
- I totally trust and respect the accountant who does my taxes. I know I could probably just do it myself, or use a less expensive service, but in the long run it could cost me MUCH more. My accountant spends hundreds of hours a year learning software and all the new tax laws, both state and federal, that affect my personal and my business accounts. Does it make sense to learn all that stuff yourself when you only use it once, or is it better to pay somebody who continually is focused on your best interest?
- When I owned my recording studio, I constantly had people say “If you record me for free, I'll remember you when I make it”. Would you take that gamble? It's kind of the same game that people play when they ask you to come do a project for free… “It's great exposure for your business”, “You'll learn something that will help you in the future”, “If this is successful, there are 10 more projects just like it so let's try this one out”!? How would that work in REALLY growing your business?
- People… Your time and your knowledge both have weight in what you sell. Each has it's own value and you should not forget that they work hand in glove. Knowledge may be free on the internet, but knowing what to do with that knowledge can make all the difference in your… and your clients businesses.
There's a story that goes…
A business owner had the heat in his building go down because a boiler stopped working. This was costing him tens of thousands of dollars a day in lost revenue! So he calls a repairman to come fix it. The repair man goes into the boiler room, and with a quick turn of the screwdriver and the boiler starts working again. Then he hands the business owner a bill for $1000. The business owner looks at the bill and then angrily looks up and says “How can you charge me $1000 for just turning a screw?”. The repairman says “This bill is not for just turning a screw… but also knowing which screw to turn and how far”!
The moral of the story is sometimes your experience is more valuable than your time… Don't be afraid to treat it that way! But how do you convince potential clients of that?
Congrats to the Giants & Pats… Enjoy the Super Bowl!