Geekonomics and the Spontaneity Economy

I've been looking at the world of geekonomics and fannish economics – of video games, anime, movies, sports, and of course, online transactions.

As I write this I've been watching some things I found casually on Netflix, using our X-box (cheesy movie trailers, if you must know).  I was watching them spontaneously.  Come to think of it, I'd maintain my Netflix and X-box subscription just for these opportunities.

Or perhaps we can turn our attention to my gaming habits.  A few demos on the X-box are always amusing, and purchases are cheap.  I've enjoyed many Wii games for only a few dollars.  Best of all, things are not only easy to get but cheap.  A bad purchase is only a few dollars lost.

Very, very easy to be spontaneous.  In fact it's never been easier for so many to get so much so quickly and so easily (if I may wax poetic).

We've got an increased spontaneity economy.  I expect it to increase as well – e-books, web comics, downloadable comics, etc.  Everything is easier and easier to get to – or even try it out.

What does this mean?

  • Demographics are going to get harder.  Spontaneity can distort studies and information on purchasing populations (and it may make long tail calculations harder).
  • Questions of initial sales.  Are initial sales of a product going to be all that reflective?
  • Questions of reason for interest.  Was someone interested in a purchase or was it just easy.
  • Questions of reimbursement.  When spontaneity plays a large (or potentially large) role in the purchasing decisions of people, what is the best way to reimburse producers or share profits?
  • Questions of marketing.  How much did your marketing pay off?  How will you know.
  • Questions of durability.  How easy is retention of an audience when the new shiny things are so easily accessible?

Welcome to the spontaneity economy.

– Steven Savage