How do you make money in a world where the cost of creation, duplication, distribution, and storage approach zero? It is a common (and tricky) question I get asked quite a bit after one of my sessions in “exponential thinking.”
We have first seen this shift from scarcity to abundance happen in the world of media and now see it spread across industries, affecting more and more businesses.
I believe you have two choices – and not much in-between: You either create something which is rare and unique or you embrace abundance.
In the first case, you focus on creating value by providing something which creates uniqueness: Brand, Social Interactions, Experiences or Customization.
Louis Vuitton can sell you a $1,000+ handbag as they have become a desirable brand. You pay Starbucks $5 for a cup of coffee as they have created “the third place.” Apple makes more money per square foot in retail than anyone else, as they have made shopping for electronics an experience. And Nike allows you to create a pair of trainers like no other on the planet.
The second option is to embrace abundance wholeheartedly and become the platform, focussing on access, ease, and curation.
Amazon gave us access to millions of books (and later everything else). Apple’s App Store makes buying software so easy that we do not even think about it anymore. And Spotify not only gave us 120M songs in our pockets but curates playlists for us to make sure we can make the most of the abundance they enable.
I believe in a world of abundance you will find yourself in the tension between creating uniqueness and embracing abundance. Chose sides – as if you are stuck in the middle you will get washed away by the tsunami that is created by abundance.