Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Always Deal in Scarcity

I've been reading John Steinbeck's East of Eden on the train for the last few weeks. Among the many memorable pieces of the book is the advice, placed in the mouth of a small-town business mogul, to always deal in scarcity. Here's a great example of someone following that advice.

I ran across this story on BoingBoing. Apparently, a young swiss artist is selling pictures of the first 1000 whole numbers, painted blue on white. Each number is unique and will not be reproduced. They are priced according to the following algorithm:

Value = 1000 - number.
Initial discount [from value]: 90%.
Current discount: 60%.
The discount will decrease by an absolute 10% for every 100 paintings sold.
Min. price: $40.

If the first number he sold was number 1, the price would have been 1000 - 1 = 999 x .10 = $99.90. At any point in time, the lower numbers are the more expensive numbers, but all numbers increase in price every time he hits a 100-paintings-sold milestone. Yesterday, he had sold 120 paintings. Today, after his site was posted on BoingBoing and probably everywhere else on the Internet, he's up to 384 and selling more by the minute. Number 159 just went for $336.40.

I'm fascinated by "so crazy it just might work" ways people are making money on the Internet. See also the Million Dollar Homepage.


Donoghue Nation said...

I am so tempted to buy a number, even though I do not find the painting particularly attractive. The idea is just so cool.

ERIC WELLS said...

I had a dream the other night that I released a line of baby strollers called "Baby Bling" that would come standard with chrome wheels with spinners and a DVD player with a 4"screen above baby's head to keep them busy on those long walks around the mall they would also have included built in am/fm CD players so baby could listen to his or her favorite tunes...the funny thing is when I woke up I actually thought"someone out there would buy this just to say they have it!"...hmmmm...."its so crazy it just might work!"