Concepts are the new products

We all need less stuff and clutter in our lives. That seems to be the general message we get nowadays. But you don’t need to spend less money, or companies don’t want you to at least. So earning money now is mainly conceptual.

A millennial is little more than just the concepts of its parts

Based on How MSCHF built a business out of squeaky chicken bongs

It’s really amazing to me how you can now make more money off the concept than the actual product. This struck me when I first read about MSCHF a while ago in the New York Times and sort of dismissed it as a quirky company. I read about drops and exclusive stuff for a high price, which reminded me of the white t-shirts and original Nikes that go around for thousands of dollars.

This particular company is solely focused on selling “hipness” though. In its own words, it’s “a startup that variously describes itself as an art collective, a band, or a creative label. Since last year, when this present iteration of the company was incorporated, the group has been putting out projects designed to do one thing: blow up online.”

And it’s no wonder that the company is gaining track now. My generation, the millennials, are perfectly positioned to give them a big boost of recognition and business. Research shows experiential services are a big seller now and if we have a positive experience millennials tend to be very loyal brand followers.

But besides these general trends, I really think my generation is much more focused on exclusivity than others. We grew up in a time where everything suddenly became available to everyone. And as a result we started to crave special and personalized experiences.

It’s the reason we pay extra for our Starbucks frappuccino. They may have misspelled it, but having your name written by someone on a cup still releases that dopamine. And I think it’s no wonder pop-up stores and mysterious drops have proliferated in the last 10 years. Millennials became adults, started to earn money, and kept the habit of wanting to spend it on unique, useless stuff.

On the one hand, I think it’s ridiculous to have ‘coolness’ as a brand. At the same time I can’t deny that I want to be part of the cool club as well. The marketization of experiences is a very powerful thing. We pretend to be the cool people who don’t really care about image or looks, but by buying into these viral concepts that’s exactly what we care about.

I guess we all become part of a cool club now with just a few clicks. I commend companies like MSCHF on their creativity and the way they’re turning this basic desire in somewhat artful products. They’re clearly very in touch with their audience.

But with trends moving on so much faster in this internet age, it can’t be sustainable in the long run. To be fair, coolness often isn’t either.

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