It is fun to pretend there is a Santa Claus when your children are young. Even the most curmudgeonly person can get a warm feeling from the jubilant innocence and wonder shining out of those big eyes at the thought of Santa Claus.
I have observed many adults who believe in Santa too. I am always amazed by the hard-nosed, otherwise intelligent business people who still believe in free stuff. Business Santa is even more amazing because he brings free stuff all year long! He might pop in with free e-mail, free websites, free software, and free consulting services at any time. And free stuff is always the best stuff in some people’s minds.
Free is usually the most expensive product or service you can buy, or at least that has been my observation over the last twenty-two years. If you are getting a product or service for free, you are the product that is being marketed, packaged and sold. Moreover, while the product or service might be free, implementation and support are not. And you might have to redo all that work again if the free product doesn’t work out.
So, beware of free stuff. If you do take advantage of free products or services, make sure you read and understand the license agreement thoroughly and make sure you understand what the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is. It is not likely to be free, but sometimes it is hard to figure out what the catch is. What is the motivation to give you something free?
I don’t want to confuse free software with Open Source software. That is a different animal completely but comes with its own hidden costs, but we will talk about that in another post.
As always, if you need help evaluating the cost of free products, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m not free, but I might help you save some money. And don’t forget to leave cookies and eggnog for Santa.
Copyright 2018, Jeffrey Morgan