Friday, May 22, 2015

Free Chuck Hobbs

My friend Chuck Hobbs, a frequent and eloquent writer to places like The Hill posted a photo on facebook which included a naked breast to make a point.  Facebook responded by suspending his account and silencing an eloquent voice.

In particular Mr Hobbs is a voice of reason regarding the state of race relations in our country and a proponent of peaceful interaction.  Because he refuses to preach hatred he is an enemy of those who wish for us ti implode.  I suspect that someone like this complained about his post.

Facebook!  Give up the censorship!  You're making a mistake in this specific case as well as in general.  Trying to censor the web is a ridiculous idea -- people will always be able to get around whatever guardianship you try to implement.  You are making an admirable attempt to curtail hate speech, and I appreciate your motive -- but the greatest gift Facebook has given to us is the ability for diverse people to come together for sophisticated conversations.

Don't take back your greatest gift by trying to censor these conversations.  It's better to let us converse freely.

Read more about Chuck

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Things that are free have no value

When something is free, it has no value and people treat it as such. When I worked at a great hospital in Boston, we used to offer free printing to everyone in our small division -- 1000 people were generating printing costs of $100,000 per year.

So we put a program in place so that when people sent a job to the printer, they had to go to the printer to release the job with their username/password (this was also important for HIPPA reasons -- can't leave patient records on the printer tray). This allowed us to see how much people were printing.

After one year we had some pretty good stats on how much everyone printed, so we told people that we were going to start charging $0.01 per page for back and white prints and $0.07 for color. We also gave everyone an "allowance" of $50 a year, and we displayed their balance on the screen when they released their print jobs.

Out printing dropped by 75%.    It wasn't that anyone was deprived -- no one ended up having to pay us for more printing -- but because we assigned a value to something that was previously free -- people treated it like a precious resource.