1 min read

Give a man a fish 🎣

If you give away fish for free, people become dependent. They don't learn how to catch their own fish. Or so the saying goes. The point (depending on context) is that you need to be discerning about how you support charitable causes.

But business doesn't care about a few lost fish if there's enough profit in the aggregate. Traditional retail stores frequently stock their shelves with loss leaders. Items that cost them more than they charge the customer. The point is to get people in the store. As long as they buy a couple other things while walking around, you come out ahead and get a happy, loyal customer in the process.

The biggest online businesses leverage this concept at an entirely different scale. Google, Facebook, and many others offer most of their products and services for free. Their customers are highly dependent and loyal.

Businesses built on blockchain typically shun this approach. The end user has to have money to pay their own way. It's well meaning, but it's not very realistic if the goal is mass adoption.

For decentralized services to make a broader, accelerated impact on the world, we have to be able to give away some fish.


P.S. Charity and business aren't so dissimilar.