BOOK: The Mind Share Market (2011)

Productive Marketing: Creating value before a sale occurs

Create a new market segment; use non-marketers as a sales strategy; monetize free products; implement the ultimate method to protect a business from price competition; observe a society where the private sector solves problems typically left to governments and foundations

Available now: (paperback; Kindle, UK); Barnes & Noble; Powell’s Books; preview parts of chapter 1 and 2 on Google Books


Definition of freemium; also on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) : Freemum: Attributes of an Emerging Business Model; Productive Marketing: Allocating $600 Billion per Year to Shared Value Creation; Slideshare (PDF): freemium 101 & 201; multi-sided platformsNegative advice (what not to do) on ; Q&A on The Open Force ;  Short review from The University of Texas at Austin ; longer review on The Mind Share Strategy Can we solve through capitalism/business the problems usually left to governments? Interview with Network World ; Why companies ignoring open models are inherently fragile: Interview with Business Insider ;  Review by Greg Linster, student in economics Discussions on Facebook (new)
Why & How to Build and Open Source Business

Freemium seminar

Announcement, recap post,
additional Q&Aevent replay;
co-presented with Toni Schneider,
CEO of Automattic (company behind
WordPress, web site ranked #19 worldwide
as of May 2011)

Engineering Summit (Microsoft):
Free vs. Paid Business Models
& The Hidden Role of Engineers as Marketers

presentation slides; video

Hi-res shots: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Credit: Mark Weeks for the following a, b, c, d

Skip this section unless:

  1. You run a business and face competition from underneath: Low cost, free, commoditization. This book is not a platonic “how to” guide, but a philosophical and practical blueprint to observe human behaviors, rough patterns of market disruptions, and understand how this segment operates. The final line is a question that readers can ask themselves.
  2. You are the competition from underneath: ramping a business takes skills, hard work and luck. This book contains my practitioner’s experience of over 15 years across 3 continents, including 6 years taking a $10m startup to a $1B acquisition. I’ve seen it and done it.
  3. You have interest in societal issues, political systems; MSM asks whether corporations can broadly use existing resources spent in marketing and allocate them towards dual purpose activities that create commercial activity while providing value before anything is sold.
  4. You’re a marketing pro: isn’t it surprising that there has been little to no distinction made to date, between marketing that carries standalone value and marketing that carries none? Naked ads look very fragile.

Official description

Marketing has been practiced for centuries around one central tenet: creating an effective message to potential customers so as to generate sales and profits. This method, while proven, is flawed by incompleteness: the message carries no value; only what is sold does. In recent decades, marketers added value to advertising and created so-called “free products”. The Mind Share Market uncovers this hidden customer segment that can make or break a business.

Through the story of Maria Ezrati, CEO of Etymologic Corporation and over 15 real world examples, executives and managers in all industries will find a philosophical and practical blueprint to understand the dynamics of a zero price. Free products operate at the pre-sales cycle as potent advertisements, and in markets creating new demand or taking share away. Beyond pure commercial strategies, Pujol highlights the social impact of mind share markets: their ability to significantly reduce scarcity – possibly eliminate it in some areas, and solve longstanding pains from public deficits and populations unable to afford basic goods in life. By targeting this hypercompetitive segment, companies can position themselves for dealing with a new age in advertising where marketing has standalone value and mind share becomes a currency.

Fiction inside non-fiction

As much as we enjoy social sciences, our human nature makes it difficult to understand and remember concepts without illustrations. People want stories, not ideas. As I wrote MSM, the 15+ real world illustrations and surrounding principles needed a glue from beginning to end. It is how the story of Etymologic, Maria Ezrati and Jun Takahashi came into this book.

Consider what Etymologic accomplished througout their journey, and what your business could. Not a prescriptive exercise – what you do is up to your own conclusion.

The clash of capitalism, socialism and communism

Political ideologies run deep in the soul of nations, and people. By symmetry, if empiricism has proven capitalism productive over several centuries before us, we can expect the model to endure the test of time into the future. The system has evolved and will no doubt continue to do so. However, the critics of capitalism (Marx and Engels in the late 1800s) pointed to inherent issues of alienation, and that of inequalities — healthy to a certain extent, but not the fault of a newborn.

The Mind Share Market observes that productive marketing, in its purest form, gives value to potential customers with no obligation to pay. It is nearly non-discriminatory. Yet, businesses are using it to maximize their market shares, lock their positions, open new segments, and therefore maximize profits. Nobody forces them into the strategy… they do it because it makes natural sense. Hence, solving what the Left tried to solve but failed to, with the tools of capitalism.

Subsidization: What is new?

I point out (in page 1 of the book) that subsidization has existed for over a century, from the time that the first free newspapers started ad funded models. Some, not watching what our society looks like, ask “what is new?”. Is MSM explaining the innovative business model of 1880s? To a certain extent, yes – and that’s the point. I have been baffled for years during my career by market reports from reputable firms that made autistic representations of market shares. They missed half the story, which is enough to say they missed what they were trying to show. You can connect the dots with market segments left wide open… [...]. Not going to re-write the book here, but the barter system that we had before monetary transactions has not died. Money is a tricky material currency that hides the nature of many transactions.

Early reviews

Many early readers from all fields have made this book better. If you’ve read the book description you have already seen these and are probably bored by now. You can skip this part in that case. I don’t deserve these great reviews, but got lucky to have a team of supporters… the productive marketers.


“Pujol unearths the secret sauce fueling today’s dot com darlings and shows how these business models can be applied to virtually any industry”
– Apruva Pratap, vice president of Global Strategy, InterContinental Hotels Group

“For anyone new to free versus paid business strategies, not reading this book would be like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute”
– Marc Fleury, founder of JBoss and OpenRemote

“Pujol presents a radical way of looking at pre-sales: Marketing is fragile unless it is productive. Marketers can gain robustness by simply adding value – before anything is sold, to their message”
– Marten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus Systems and former CEO of MySQL

“A masterful work turning a practitioner’s experience into actionable business logic, and just great story telling”
– Marshall Van Alstyne, professor at Boston University & researcher at MIT

“I have long been a believer that “Free is a great way to get paid.” Pujol demonstrates exactly how this works in The Mind Share Market.”
– Fred Wilson, venture capitalist at Union Square Ventures

“Hitting on the topic from strategic to practical, The Mind Share Market belongs on the desk of all Web entrepreneurs and online marketing professionals.”
– Sam Niccolls, lead online marketing strategist at Foundry Interactive

“The Mind Share Market is a blueprint for entrepreneurs to build, serve and monetize business communities, a place where both free users and paying customers are kings.”
– Patrik Backman, CEO, Open Ocean Capital

“Free” simply works. The Mind Share Market provides a practical guide to help entrepreneurs and executives navigate the next generation economy successfully. It’s a new world and this is the map.
– Tony De Ruvo, founder and CEO, Gogobeans

“Insightful and captivating – a Must Read for anyone launching or managing free and paid products.”
– Mark Burton, Chairman of the Board at Zend Technologies, Board Member at Infobright, Mulesoft and Jaspersoft

“My company makes money using the Freemium model. I can directly relate to the ideas that Pujol presents in The Mind Share Market and see immediate opportunities to improve our business.”
– Rohit Nadhani, founder and CEO, Webyog

“We are in the middle of a Strategic Inflection Point that is profoundly changing how products are priced and sold. The Mind Share Market will help you understand all aspects of this SIP so you can craft a strategy to compete effectively in the brave new world that is unfolding as you read these words. ”
– John Doggett, senior lecturer at the McCombs School of Business

“Pujol has put together a framework for the new economy which is both engaging and educational. It’s the first publication I’ve encountered that both shares the stories of, and explains the science behind, what’s becoming the founding principle of so many new enterprises.”
– James Farmer, founder and CEO, Edublogs

Random stats: 409,565 characters, 67,699 words, 266 pages