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Three beautiful business models (geoffreywoo.com)
9 points by geoffwoo on Mar 25, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments

"However, I think this market is in the wrong direction of technology. In pure software, marginal cost of a new unit is zero, while of course for each new Louis Vuitton bag or each new Rolex, there’s costs for material and craftsmanship. But projecting forward into a world with ubiquitous, sophisticated 3D printing, the value of material and craftsmanship attenuate."

What luxury goods sell (art, handmade Rolls,...) is a story, not a product. The category that looks more likely to suffer are the luxury goods that are merely almost-luxury products - industrially manufactured but high priced (I'm thinking Nespresso here). What will hurt them is the increased transparency - the cold spotlight on their industrial value chain. They will be exposed as fakes.

But what will likely thrive is everything that has nothing to hide but everything to gain from this new transparency - everything that is ugly, earthy, hand made, at the expense of sweat and blood and occasionally the lunacy of the artist or artisan. That stuff will probably become astronomically expensive.

And then, someone will figure out how to produce that semi-industrially and we can start over again ;)

I believe we're already seeing this as a valid business market in the sense that a well designed app often finds a market against the less designed more utilitarian open source competitor. I think this is in line with the "luxury" business model where designers and engineers focused on "the experience" are the new craftsmen.

Very good point, and very much validated by this story, which in my opinion borders on the silly, but isn't all that different from the breathless descriptions of the Hermès ateliers in Paris where artisans stitch 10,000 € leather bags:


I agree. These brands are story, but still have a basis on some superior quality with the end product. When the craftsmanship and material differences go to zero, it'll be interesting to see what that story will be.

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