Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Making Things that Matter
You may have read this New York Times article about how the US lost out on iphone work. It raises fascinating questions about what it takes to be the most desirable manufacturer for the tech industry. Its not all cost. Its cost plus flexibility plus precision.
But maybe there are other routes. Maybe it's possible to make valuable things without their success hinging on making workers live in company dorms and work 12 hour days?
Tech is fleeting. I have given away an iPhone, and I have a dead one on my desk. So I'm on my third one in about 4 years. That creates lots of demand, which is good for business. But is that the only way?
I recently saw these two videos, shot within a few years of each other, about the manufacture of two products that are WILDLY more valuable today than they were when they were new; the Porsche 356, and Fender guitars.
Porsche 356s, in restored condition are now regularly selling above $100k. I don't mean special models, just regular coupes and cabriolets. Fender Stratocasters from the late 50s are selling for $20K-$30k.
What did they have in common? Transcendent design and beautiful workmanship. Among the things we make today, how many will be worth more in the future?