Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In this age of Free Lunch

TANSTAAFL "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch" popularized by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein in his 1966 novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, which discusses the problems caused by not considering the eventual outcome of an unbalanced economy.

However the new generation of twenty-something lives in what Chris Anderson terms "the Long Tail," a term he coined in his Wired magazine column and that is the title of his new book. The "Long Tail" describes the region of the item "popularity curve" comprising the vast population of least-popular items, whether it is song titles, books, or little-known brands.

Has technology given the new generation a new gateway to access free, unlimited information? What happened to the Marshall’s good old Demand Supply Partial Equilibrium theory?

In Anderson's view, all of these drive demand down into the tail, which he terms "a culture unfiltered by economic scarcity." In the Long Tail, money is made by such things as avoiding inventory, producing to order, letting customers do the work, pricing creatively and flexibly to various customers, utilizing a variety of distribution methods, sharing information, trusting the market to do your job, and understanding the "power of free" combined with money-making services or products.

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