2.4. Self-Expression

The last part of this chapter expands on the idea of what people will pay money for. The iPod I refer to is an early, all-white one, before the mini, the nano, the Touch, etc.


People pay for expressing themselves personally through style.

Over the years, there has been continuing interest in my July 2000 essay "What will people pay for?" An edited version was reprinted in the Harvard Business Review back in September of 2001, and it still gets readers every day on my web site. It lists the following things regular people will pay for in addition to basic human needs like food, shelter, etc., and other "practical" things: (1) Interacting with people they care about (e.g., talking on a cell phone and email), and (2) experiencing "other forms of emotion" like listening to music or seeing something beautiful (including buying art, paying to watch a performance, etc.).

I continue to be interested in what people pay for. I presented some related thoughts in my "How will the artists get paid?" essay. There I add: (3) Practicing an "art" as an amateur, and (4) subsidizing an artist they especially like as a form of philanthropy.

As I sit here on a plane listening to music on my Apple iPod, and after seeing lots of people with many different backgrounds on the train ride to the airport, I thought about another time when many regular people spend money that "they don't have to." That is for (5): Personal expression through something with style. To ...

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