in Economics

Selling many to many

Chris Anderson’s article in Wired, The Long Tail, is about making previously unprofitable products profitable by making them more widely available.

C. K. Prahalad’s book, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, is about making previously unprofitable products profitable by making them more widely available.

The primary difference is that Anderson describes it happening in the digital realm, e.g. .mp3 files, in ways that aren’t possible in the physical realm, and Prahalad describes how it’ll work in the physical realm. Anderson’s “tail” is all the products that don’t fit in stores and normally don’t get sold. Prahalad’s pyramid bottom is all the people that are poor and normally aren’t sold to.

Imagine locking Anderson and Prahalad in a room until they figure out how to best distribute our digital and physical surplus to the poor of the world and make money for companies in the process.