Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail and editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, previews his up coming book, Free, in the latest issue of the magazine. At his blog, Chris posts on the preview . Make sure to read the wiki entry on free business models. Advertising Age has an interesting interview with Chris, here.
The idea of giving away free content is why I give away my Three Dimensions of Leadership (Circle of Impact) and Four Questions that Every Leader Must Ask charts. The charts are sufficient in themselves to have value. I am happy for people to use them. If you do, let me know. If they have value make a donation to RandomKid. It is just a tip jar, and RandomKid is the organization that will received the benefit.
I give away the charts to help people begin to think in a more integrated fashion about their organizations. However, the real value of the charts comes from my helping leaders think them through. A day in conversation with the charts will clarify purpose and direction. And if done with a team can raise the level of their capacity for communication and decision-making.
Look again at at the wiki page on free business models, and you'll begin to get the idea behind Chris Anderson's idea about Free.