Lars Doucet: Money-dollars, Time-dollars, Pain-in-the-butt-dollars, Integrity-dollars

Over at Gamasutra, one expert blogger, Lars Doucet, has shared a very profound look at four “currencies” people consider when making such a choice.

The problem with most piracy debates is that the only “cost” they discuss is money-dollars.
This is wrong because there are at least four currencies involved here, not just one (money-dollars).
I propose the following:

  • ($M) Money-dollars
  • ($T) Time-dollars
  • ($P) Pain-in-the-butt-dollars
  • ($I) Integrity-dollars

Using these new variables in the consumer decision-making process, we can see quite clearly that even though the pirates have content creators beaten on the money-dollars aspect, there are still three other currencies through which content creators can compete.

1) First, we have Time-dollars. This is how long it takes the consumer to get from deciding he wants the product to enjoying it. Any road block in this process increases this cost.

2) Next, we have Pain-in-the-butt-dollars. This is how hard it is to get from wanting the content to enjoying the content.

3) Finally, we have Integrity-dollars. This cost is probably the most ethereal of the four. This is based on how the consumer feels when either buying the content or pirating it. If content creators want to compete through this currency, then they need to learn how to be more human and open with fans. e.g. if the content creator lashes out at fans and treats fans as criminals, the ‘cost’ (integrity-dollar) of the authorized content goes way, way up, because people don’t want to support this artist.

So when we ask content creators to compete with piracy, this is what we mean.

  • Zachary Knight