I received an email from EE today with a link to the blog entry, 5 Reasons You Should Never Fix a Computer for Free
. Is anyone else as stunned as I am by this?! Not by the article itself, but that EE would publish it — indeed, highlight it! The very core of EE is that we, the "Experts", fix things for free. The title of the article could easily have been, "5 Reasons You Should Never Answer a Question on EE for Free".
So much in the article rings true for EE experts (congrats to Michael Munger for hitting the nail on the head):
love the puzzle
love the challenge
thrive on finding the answer
We love it so much, we sometimes make horrible decisions. Sometimes, we work "for free."
that five minute task you thought you were signing up for turned into 40 minutes, then an hour, then a weekend long commitment
And all of that is in just the preamble to the article!
Then my personal favorite, still in the preamble:
There are five reasons you should always hand out a bill.
I thought EE had lost its mind in publishing this article, until I saw this:
Always get paid for your skills and expertise with our newest product, Gigs.
So now I'm thinking that EE may be sending a message that its future will be composed of experts who do not make "horrible decisions" to "work for free". In a world of gratis, highly competitive, Q&A/Help sites where answers are just a Google search away, perhaps EE plans to attack the competition by transforming itself into a site where all services are provided on a pay-as-you-go basis, i.e., Gigs
. In other words, one-on-one assistance that isn't free, but is worth every penny. To borrow from Michael's language, a fair fee so that people will respect and value what they are getting. Is that what EE is trying to tell us by publishing and highlighting this article? Looking forward to your thoughts.