Kevin Kelly on Better Than Free

Kevin Kelly’s post, “Better Than Free,” has given me much to think about, and I suspect it will do the same for you.
The money quote:

When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.
Well, what can’t be copied?

Kevin starts with “trust,” a (or perhaps the) key element of any professional services practice.
He then lists 8 “generatives” that are better than free:

1. Immediacy. (E.g., instant, targeted alerts)
2. Personalization.
3. Interpretation (or “how to” or support)
4. Authenticity.
5. Accessibility.
6. Embodiment (putting into the format you want).
7. Patronage.
8. Findability.

The second money quote:

These eight qualities require a new skill set. Success in the free-copy world is not derived from the skills of distribution since the Great Copy Machine in the Sky takes care of that. Nor are legal skills surrounding Intellectual Property and Copyright very useful anymore. Nor are the skills of hoarding and scarcity. Rather, these new eight generatives demand an understanding of how abundance breeds a sharing mindset, how generosity is a business model, how vital it has become to cultivate and nurture qualities that can’t be replicated with a click of the mouse.
In short, the money in this networked economy does not follow the path of the copies. Rather it follows the path of attention, and attention has its own circuits.

Wow! To me, these are important, clarifying, and challenging (in the best sense) words. It also echoes the business models that have grown up around the Open Source licenses.
And, as Kevin notes, none of it involves selling ads.
I encourage you to read (and re-read) this post.
What do you think? I’d enjoy discussing this topic.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Coming in March from ABA Publishing – The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together
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Ross Kodner on the Difference between IT and Legal Tech; Laura Orr on Blogging

Two posts of note today for those interested in legal tech and blogging, which I guess would be most readers of this blog.
First, Ross Kodner has a great post on the differences between legal technology and information technology (IT). It’s a great discussion-starter and should make you think. Highly recommended.
The money quote:

A mistake I’ve observed SO many firms of ALL sizes across the continent is confusing IT and LT – not making, or not knowing there is a fundamental distinction between these two areas of information.

My short take is that legal technology focuses on lawyers, how they work, and technology that helps lawyers do their work better.
Second, Laura Orr has a great post chock full of great tips on blogging for lawyers. It was nice to see the reference to me, even though it reminded me that I really don’t write or speak as much on blogging as I used to.
Among Laura’s excellent tips, is one I want to highlight that’s both simple and often overlooked:

Open an email account for your blog.

My best advice to starting bloggers is to find one or two of the blogging “rules” that you can break when you do your blog. Personal voice, more so than strict obedience of blogging best practices, is the key to a great blog (and a great blogging experience. That said, you won’t find many better digests of the best blogging practices than Laura’s post.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Coming in March from ABA Publishing – The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.
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Dennis Kennedy’s Links of the Week- January 28, 2008

I’ve wanted to do regular feature on this blog where I simply list some of the most interesting links I’ve found during the previous week – sort of a “best of” from my Google Reader Shared Items.
So, I’m kicking it off today. the idea is that I’ll pick out a set of links that I might have wanted to write about or that I found especially thought-provoking or useful. I might or might not agree with the posts or items I link to, but I found them to be something I wanted to share.
In general, I’m just going to give a link to the item, without any explanation. I’ll try to do this every weekend, and I’ll include the latest additions to my 52 books in 52 weeks project.
And away we go.
How Buildings Learn
Sample Chapter of If We Can Keep It: A National Security Manifesto for the Next Administration, by Chet Richards
Kahn and Mann’s Ten Common Pitfalls
Overnight Sensation
Countering the Enemy’s Expectations
A President Like My Father

It’s all in the frame: how to promote your services without breaking rapport – a writing challenge for business bloggers

Getting Past Done: What to Do After You’ve Finished a Big Project
Legal Secretaries 2.0
Twenty Snacks That Help Productivity
The Coming of the Cloud, Networked Knowledge Work and New Business Logic
This Week’s Additions to 52 Books in 52 Weeks:
The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets…And How We Could Have Stopped Him , by Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins

Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain

Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting on Google Reader Shared Items or subscribe to its RSS feed. High volume, but lots of interesting items that will get you thinking.
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The Internet Roundtable Revisited: The Blog Columns

I recently mentioned the Internet Roundtable columns Jerry Lawson, Brenda Howard and I wrote on Internet marketing for lawyers several years ago and how they are some of my favorite articles.
Sabrina Pacifici emailed me that she has placed all of the columns in one location on Even better, she relinked and added columns 36 and 37, a two-part series on blogging.
I remember that Jerry Lawson decided that it was time (July 2003) to cover blogs as part of Internet marketing in the columns. We had been talking privately about blogs and how they were changing all the rules and conventions of law firm websites.
I started the first column with: “When I notice that both Jerry Lawson and I have commented publicly that the energy and excitement around blogging remind us of 1995 and the early days of creating web pages, it’s clear that blogging is a topic that deserves some attention . . . .”
We brought in two of our favorite bloggers as guests – Ernest “Ernie the Attorney” Svenson and Tom “Inter Alia” Mighell – and the columns are especially interesting to show their early reflections on blogging.
I’ve always felt that Ernie captured a core element of blogging with this comment:

I was always interested with the idea of having a website, but I would never have taken the time to set one up. But some easy-to-use weblog software with a free 30-day trial is all it took to draw me into the Internet fray. That, and an obsession to have my voice broadcast to the widest possible audience.

I thoroughly recommend the columns to anyone interested in blogs and blogging, and the early history of lawyers using blogging. Look for the discussion of the term “blawg.”
Column 37 (part 2) marked the end of the Internet Roundtable columns, which was appropriate in a sense because blogs so radically changed the world of traditional law firm websites.
Jerry Lawson’s final comment on that last article was both wise and prescient:

Blogs have enormous potential, but it’s important to keep the phenomenon in perspective. I think we’re going to see another instance of the “80/20 Rule.” It will probably shake out something like this: About 80% of all lawyer web logs will fail. The remaining 20% will have greater or lesser degrees of success, mostly modest. One per cent or so, maybe less, will be extremely successful. However, some of that 1% will be so successful that they will make their owners very, very glad they got into the blogging game.

A big thank you to Sabrina for bringing back these columns. And, when you visit the articles, be sure to check out the rest of the always great content at
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting on Google Reader Shared Items or subscribe to its RSS feed. High volume, but lots of interesting items that will get you thinking.
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Planning for Legal Technology in a Recession

The recession winds have hit the economy at gale force levels in the last few weeks. Many people spent a nervous day watching the stock market today.
The natural reaction to news of a slowing economy is to cut back on spending. Recession often goes hand in hand with retrenchment, and there’s little doubt that the legal profession is already casting a nervous eye toward technology budgets.
Today, I took a look back at an article I wrote in 2001 called “A Prudent Approach to Legal Technology Spending in a Slowing Economy.” It’s been one of my most popular articles. I wondered how relevant it felt today.
The article actually holds up well, despite the outdated examples and reference to Y2K efforts.
It also reflects some of my common themes, including my stubborn insistence that the concepts of modern portfolio theory (diversity of investments, et al.) should play a role in legal technology strategy and planning.
Here are the key points in the article, which are worth thinking about in the coming days and weeks.

The key: being willing to think of technology in terms of investment.
I like to think of technology investing as a form of portfolio investing. Much as we rebalance our investment portfolios in changing economic conditions, the same principles apply to technology investment. . . . The interesting conclusion in modern portfolio theory is that the most prudent approach, over the long term, includes a reasonable proportion of high-risk, high-return investments, regardless of the investment climate. In a slow economy, sticking with a diversified approach is mandatory.
Investing in technology requires a similar portfolio approach.

The article identifies six areas to consider carefully when developing your technology portfolio:
1. Technology That Cuts Costs
2. Technology That Makes You Indispensable to Your Clients
3. Technology That Helps You Get New Clients
4. Technology That Helps You Move into New Practice Areas (or Creates Profitable Niche Practices)
5. Technology That Helps You Recruit and Retain Great People
6. Technology That Makes You Saner

The article concluded with these thoughts:

In a slow economy, you need to make smart choices about technology. Focusing hard on return on investment is important, but not if you are using that as an excuse to shut down technology investment. A better approach is to get a lot of options on the table and consider their likely risk and potential return. Then prudently pick a diverse portfolio of technology investment projects and step boldly forward. Not all of them may work, but the diversification will, and you’ll find yourself well positioned for the changes to come, both in the economy and the practice of law.

I really like the ideas in this article and find them quite appropriate for today. What do you think? Do you have other ideas and strategies? Is it time to focus on recession strategies?
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Get your legal technology information by audio. Check out The Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcast.
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