The Value of Scarcity

The Ferrari Enzo is highly desired because you can't just buy it off the shelf. (Courtesy of mo155)

Does it pay to flood the markets in this day and age? Not any more it seems.

In the new era where social media and online networking thrive, more and more folks are actually hankering after things that cannot be easily bought. This can be seen in the growth of custom-made products and services, as opposed to mass manufactured goods. The old "make it and they will buy" mantra is dead as people seek a greater sense of individuality and creative expression in how they conduct their transactions.

Taken to extremes, the rarer a product or service is, the better. This is the logic behind the Long Tail, where an infinite inventory can actually be profitable so long as they can be stocked, sold and shipped at a low cost. Plain vanilla, chocolate or strawberry is no longer desired.

While I will not hesitate to pick up a bar of chocolate or a bottle of detergent without much thought from the supermarket aisles, the real value is in products that can instill desire. Naturally, the MacBook Air is one of them and so is the iPhone. Apple has made it a core strategy of theirs to tease, tantalise and taunt you relentlessly before slowly releasing their products, market by excruciating market.

A similar principle applies with attention, which is probably the scarcest resource in the information overloaded web everywhere world. With a gazillion websites competing for attention, the only way to stand out is to be different. If you do blog for a living, offer something that is unique and difficult to find which is of treasured by your readers. Don't be like the Joneses, Lims or Ahmads.