Atoms + Bits = Long tail of things
Christmas is always a good time to catch up on reading for me and this has been no exception. One book that I’ve been meaning to read was – Makers by Chris Anderson (of the TED fame). It’s a good introductory romp thought the “new” world of digital techniques (bits) being applied to physical things (atoms). For those consultants that are sick of hearing ad nauseam about just the digital side of things (think SnapChat or Pinterest), it’s refreshing to get a view of how people are using digital to change the way things are built. Briefly, it talks about the trends (maker spaces, hardware hacks…), the tools (3D printers, CNC machines, Laser cutters, …), the business models that this enables (mass customization of hardware) and what it means for traditional companies.
Most critically, I think these techniques are changing the economics of customizing physical products (see the diagram) and this will enable truly customized products “built for one” (i.e. the long tail of things). Well worth a read.