In precious stones, novel pharmaceuticals, patents, copyright law, and the planned obsolescence of devices, we see the hand of artificial scarcity— dearth invented to create or preserve a product's perceived value.
- In some cases, scarcity itself impacts our sense of status:
- Example: It probably isn't that cool to own a patent, but owning a large diamond might be.
- In other's, it's the mechanism itself that impacts our sense of status:
- Example: Pay-gating as a mechanism doesn't confer much status (subscribing to Spotify or Netflix isn't that notable), while those which require effort or implied effort (like gaining 100K Twitter followers) often do.
Brands like Supreme and Palace "drop" their new items, making them available in limited supply and/or for limited times.
- Items purchased in a drop grant higher status than those purchased by other mechanisms, and come with the benefit of implied effort in acquirement.
- The internet grew the phenomenon. Getting ahold of the latest drop not only conferred status but, with the ease of buying and selling second-hand items online, could be profitable.
Scarcity as an API:
- If scarcity drives status, and people are willing to spend to attain status, then reliably and repeatedly creating scarcity should be valuable.
- Software companies could programmatically "drop" new features at specific times, or only to users with sufficient engagement, fundamentally altering their hype-span.