thenextwave

Trains and cars

Posted in cars, transport by thenextwavefutures on 20 January, 2013

20130113-155734.jpg It’s the New Year in Britain, and as is now traditional, it has started with news stories about rail commuters complaining about increases in the price of travel. The news coverage has ranged from the simple to the simplistic.

It’s worth unravelling some of this. In terms of the rail sector, the clearest summary is from Christian Wolmar.

Finding the right target for passenger anger is made difficult by the fact that transparency is not a feature of the rail industry and railway economics remains a dark art. … The railways may have been privatised in the mid-Nineties, but in reality they are a mix of private and state interests, with most of the purse – and other – strings still being pulled by the Government. Forget the notion of a raw capitalistic enterprise with energetic entrepreneurs seeking innovative ways to fleece the public: the train operating companies are pretend capitalists who have very little room for manoeuvre and invest very little.

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Passion’s new business models

Posted in consumers, retail, technology by thenextwavefutures on 7 January, 2013

20130106-231050.jpgI have an article in the latest edition of Blink, which was published just before Christmas. Here’s a slightly fuller version of that article.

It used to be the case that businesses which followed people’s passions were niche businesses. Some were not businesses at all, in the conventional sense, but groups of fans and hobbyists doing some trading on the side.

The internet has changed all this. In the past, businesses used to have to choose between reach (mass market, tending towards commoditisation) and richness (niche market, with depth and sometimes knowledge rolled into the service). The internet allows businesses to break out of this trade-off. Passion has mass market potential.

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