May 27, 2005

The do it yourself economy, and the long tail of supply



Picked this up from Dane's blog:

Fortune:

But a number of factors are coming together to empower amateurs in a way never before possible, blurring the lines between those who make and those who take. Unlike the dot-com fortune hunters of the late 1990s, these do-it-yourselfers aren't deluding themselves with oversized visions of what they might achieve. Instead, they're simply finding a way—in this mass-produced, Wal-Mart world—to take power back, prove that they can make the products that they want to consume, have fun doing so, and, just maybe, make a few dollars. "What's happened is a tremendous change in awareness," says Eric von Hippel, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of the recent Democratizing Innovation. "Conventional wisdom is so strong [in business] about find-a-need-and-fill-it: 'We're the manufacturers; we design products; we ask users what they need; we do it.' That has begun to crack."

This is really exciting stuff. From the age of the guilds we have travelled the route of large organizations to free agents and now virtual organizations. These businesses would also move the chain to finally own the brand and leverage the long tail through technology. I've been thinking. Most of the thoughts about the long tail is about the selling to the niches addressed by google and blogs. Although Chris Andersen has talked about the long tail applied to suppliers (the ebay example).

The example closer home is ITC's e-choupals, and eliminating the middleman. This is the power of technology when applied to the the long tail of supply ! Businessworld has a story on how the supply of agriculture goods is being overhauled.

(bad blog post Gautam, two thoughts in one post...not done...!)