Cha-Ching!: How to Cash in with a Freemium Business Model

Moderated by:
Chris Anderson (3D Robotics)
Christopher Dean (Skype), Brad Jefferson (Animoto), Joe Kennedy (Pandora)
Strategy & Business Models
Location: 2005 Level:
Average rating: ***..
(3.77, 26 ratings)

Good ideas are important, but without a strong business model— one that draws in users and generates cash flow — a company will never survive. In a counter-intuitive move, many companies are finding that a freemium strategy, in which a company offers a significant service free of charge, can provide the structure for success.

This session focuses on the good, bad and ugly of the freemium model, examined by the executives of three growing companies that use this pricing strategy. Why go freemium? Where do you draw the “free” line? And how do you convert free users to paying customers?

Photo of Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson

3D Robotics

I’m the CEO of 3D Robotics and founder of DIY Drones. From 2001 through 2012 I was the Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine. Before Wired I was with The Economist for seven years in London, Hong Kong and New York in various positions, ranging from Technology Editor to US Business Editor.

I’m the author of the New York Times bestselling books The Long Tail and Free as well as the new Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.

Awards include: Editor of the Year by Ad Age (2005). Named to the “Time 100,” the newsmagazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world (2007). Loeb Award for Business Book of the Year (2007). Wired named Magazine of the Decade by AdWeek for my tenure (2009). Time Magazine’s Tech 40 — The Most Influential Minds In Technolgy (2013). Foreign Policy Magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers (2013)

I founded GeekDad, BookTour and a few other companies now lost in the mists of time.

My background is in science, starting with studying physics and doing research at Los Alamos and culminating in six years at the two leading scientific journals, Nature and Science.

In my misspent youth (more of my twenties than I should admit) I was a bit player in the DC punk scene and amusingly, a band called REM. You can read more about that here.

I live in Berkeley, California with my wife and five children.

Photo of Christopher Dean

Christopher Dean


Christopher Dean, Skype’s CSO, has 20 years of experience in business and corporate development, strategy consulting and advising startups. He specializes in deals to grow revenue, create new distribution channels and develop and launch new products.

Christopher has led several business development and strategy teams that have defined and prioritized strategic partner targets and identified, negotiated and closed partnerships. He was most recently the co-founder of Texada Capital and responsible for new business development. Earlier, he spent four years as the senior vice president of marketing and business development at Face Time communications, a leading vendor of security, management and control solutions for enterprise-oriented instant messaging.

Christopher also was an executive in business development at Epoch Partners,, Worlds, Inc. and a consultant at Regis McKenna, Inc. He has consulted with Apple, Adobe Systems, IBM, Oracle, and Placeware, prior to its sale to Microsoft.

He has a B.A. in Economics from Vassar College and a MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Photo of Brad Jefferson

Brad Jefferson


As CEO of Animoto, Brad leads the charge in driving Animoto to be the global standard for consumers and businesses to automatically create professional-looking video from images, video clips and music. Prior to co-founding Animoto in 2006, Brad spent eight years with Onyx Software where he saw the company grow from a 17-person start-up to an 800-person public company and eventually through an acquisition. At Onyx, Brad managed Sales Operations and the Professional Services team and customer base in the western US. Brad graduated from Dartmouth College and currently resides in Oakland, CA.

Photo of Joe Kennedy

Joe Kennedy


Joe Kennedy joined Pandora in 2004 following a five-year stint at E-LOAN, where he was President and Chief Operating Officer. From 1995 to 1999, he was the Vice President of Sales, Service and Marketing for Saturn Corporation, which he grew to over $4 billion in revenue and established as the top brand for customer satisfaction in the auto industry. Joe joined the initial start-up team at Saturn, four months after its founding, as a marketing manager and held positions of increasing marketing responsibility over the course of his 11-year tenure there.

Joe holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University, where he dabbled in music theory and learned to compose his own Gregorian chants. He is Pandora’s resident pop music junkie. Current favorites include Counting Crows, G.B. Leighton, Sarah McLachlan, Juanes and Kelly Clarkson. Joe has also been playing the piano for more than 30 years, most of which has been spent attempting to master Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

Comments on this page are now closed.


Scott Lum
05/06/2010 7:02am PDT

I would have preferred to hear Chris Anderson present than have a panel discussion which was not highly focused.

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