RELATIONSHIP TECH

To create what the customer wants.

Sometimes this will mean simple customization: You want a vacation experience unlike anyone else’s. Sometimes this will mean mass customization: You want a pair of jeans that fit your unusual leg shape at the same price as a regular pair of jeans. Sometimes mass customization is not what you want. The huge fashion industry makes its fortune on people’s dependable desire for wearing what everyone else is wearing. Sometimes what you want is semicustomized: You read the New York Times because everyone else is reading it, but you don’t read the sports section or the obits. You want not the Daily Me, but the Daily You and Me, the publication your 12 closest friends read.

A huge tide of information and trust must flow between users and creators in order to create exactly what the customer wants. The interface technology must be clear and simple for people to convey their desires. The nightmarish logistics of delivery and production must be managed with exactness. The most difficult aspect of this mission may not be the order form but the manufacturing; anything that involves atoms is much harder to customize than first thought. But any solutions surely involve networked technologies.

 

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-- KK