Archive of posts in category “commerce”

  • Paul Ford summarises the modern disease: not just of buying stuff, but buying stuff for your stuff:

    “Years ago, I asked a friend what kind of case she planned to buy for her shiny new flip phone. She paused, a little offended. ‘I don’t like to buy stuff for my stuff,’ she said. Those words drilled directly into my hippocampus, never to depart. She’s right! I thought. Don’t buy stuff stuff! So simple! I have tried to keep to that principle ever since, and it has gone about as well as you would expect. Sure, I might spend $1,000 on a tech-giant-controlled smartphone, but I only do it every three years (nods sagely) instead of every two. This is how we win.

    Ford isn’t just taking aim at the easy targets, the shiny trinkets of consumerism:

    “I have come up with a personal Theory of Stuffness, a way to structure and understand my local stuff ecosystem, especially the digital stuff. I divide Stuffworld into the Object, the Enhancements, and the Experience… The Object is the phone. The Enhancement is the Spotify app. The Experience is that of listening to music. In the past, you might buy a record player and spend 10 years curating a collection of really good jazz albums. You’d read the liner notes and learn new things over time, boring your friends in the process. Now you pay a fee, and some approximation of every bit of recorded jazz is just there on every device that plays sound. It used to take a lifetime of reading reviews and trips to the record store, or going to jazz clubs, and a ton of money. Now the cost approaches free. This is the Great Stuff Discontinuity. You just parachute in, like my kids playing Fortnite.”