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In celebration of entrepreneurial opportunity, individuality, and the start-up fever epidemic.

August 24, 2012

A friend recently passed along this piece  in Forbes which is highly worth clicking for the full-read.  “The Rise of ‘Me-Commerce” is a brilliant contrast of how the two powerful forces– declining startup costs and personalization– are fueling new possibilities on both the supply and demand side of entrepreneurialism.

On the demand side, new ecommerce options are booming– the Forbes piece cites several hot ones, and there are countless others.

E-commerce platforms like Fab and Touch of Modern, which curate according to product aesthetic, like One King’s Lane, which curates based on the target demographics, or like Gilt Group, which curates around aspirational brands, are catering to consumers who increasingly desire individuality, not just access. They are the first layer of personalization, based on proxy.

Other consumers turn to long-tail, democratized consumer-to-consumer marketplaces, or small-business-to-consumer platforms. These platforms do not curate, but transfer choice to the consumer. Etsy brings the craft fair to your laptop, Artspace brings Christie’s or Sotheby’s to your wall in the form of limited edition prints of the world’s best artists, and Gemvara allows you to build jewelry specific to your exact tastes. These are the second layer, and more authentic or self-determined platforms for personalization.

This is the rise of me-commerce, the personalization of commerce.

On the supply side there is a title wave of activity as individuals take the plunge to pursue their passions…

Declining startup costs associated with creating companies have democratized the ability to create. And concurrent with enhanced access, greater media coverage of those success stories has encouraged many people to step outside of traditional firms with the hopes, and sometimes expectations, of becoming the next Steve Jobs. The consequence is a disaggregation of the workforce, and a fragmentation of people, talent, and ideas. The net outcome is likely still the Schumpeterian creative destruction, with few superlative ideas and feats of execution taking the lion’s share of each industry each decade. But the process of democratizing access has systemic consequences on demand.

With access ubiquitous, consumers demand personalization.

Personalization is what is fueling startup fever. The mentality is, “I too want to work on my own passions, create my own work hours, and choose how I spend my time.” The personalization of jobs is driving disaggregation in the workforce, and the consequence of disaggregation is more startups.

The article goes on to cite topics we have enthusiastically covered in the recent past.  It suggests that crowd -funding and 3-D printing have the potential to bring about a personalized manufacturing revolution that will spark the advent of real product-based startups  (as opposed to selling internet an/or software bits and bytes).

The 3D printer may yet become the “Easy Bake Oven” of the 21st Century. And if it does, it will bring me-commerce out of the factory, and manufacturing into the garage. It could become, after curation and long-tail marketplace, the ultimate me-commerce experience. The ability to demonstrate individuality would be limited only by our own creativity.

LaunchPad is all about ideas and inspiration for defining and winning new markets.   There has never been a more exciting time for pursuing new ideas, if carefully planned and well executed.

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