Skip to content
Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

An evil business model that works

A whole industry is actively conning us. But they get away with it, because we can't get away from them.

Don Draper
Don Draper

No, I'm not talking about Facebook or Google or Microsoft or Apple. That's child's play in comparison.

Nope, not copyright and patent trolls either.

I'm talking about the business model used by the razor blade, the printer and the gaming console industries.

A simple business model - sell the product at a low price, possibly at a loss, make sure there is a renewable component that needs replacing often and sell it to your users at a premium. The main product locks them in, the auxilary product bleeds them dry.

Good old bait and switch.

While gaming consoles are a pretty tame rip off and printers matter less and less. The razor blade industry is actively ripping off half the population! (assuming women mostly depilate, rather than shave)

As mammals who like to pretend they aren't hairy beasts, everyone must shave. At least once in a while. As a result the male shaving industry is worth \\\$2,000,000,000 in the US alone.

First you buy a razor handle, cheap, I promise, later you have to buy replacement razor blades. You know, for a clean smooth shave! Price? Oh, just twice as much as the original purchase, no biggie!

That's evil.

Forget Google stealing all your datas or Twitter selling you out to advertisers. Here, you pay to be ripped off. Pay!

Dealing with the shaving industry has become so horrible I would rather shave with so old a razor that shaving sounds like a snow shovel scraping against asphalt. HRRRRKKKKHHRHK!

30 euro :/
30 euro :/

The handle on my last one even broke - pressing too hard made the whole thing fly off! Kept using it for two months.

When you finally say to yourself "Okay, this is getting ridiculous, I'm buying replacement razors" ... you go to a store and are presented with a fine selection of two or three types of razors.

None match what you've got at home.

You go to the next store ... the situation isn't much better.

Rinse and repeat about five times and the realization finally hits you - you've been using this razor so long it's been discontinued and you have to buy a whole new set.

Well, fuck.

Volunteering for a rip off

After mulling over three blades, or five, aloe this strip, silky smooth rubber that strip, maye I should just get a disposable razor ... you finally pick something that looks like it might work. You fork over the 10 euro for a new razor and then 20 euro for a set of replacement blades ...

... and you vow not to make another purchase for at least a year. You'd rather suffer using the same blade for two or three months.

No considerations of brand loyalty, no recollection of any marketing you saw on television, no other consideration than minimizing exposure to the purchase. When buying a computer all you want is an Intel processor and a Nvidia graphics card. If it's portable and you can afford it, you want an Apple.

And you cherish the purchase. You get excited when you buy something!

With razor blades just walking into the store makes you feel ripped off.

Maybe if they worked on that, they could get me in the store more often and increase the whole market - not just market share - would get bigger.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Did you enjoy this article?

Published on March 27th, 2012 in Apple, Business model, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Razor, Shaving, Twitter, Uncategorized

Learned something new?
Want to become a high value JavaScript expert?

Here's how it works 👇

Leave your email and I'll send you an Interactive Modern JavaScript Cheatsheet 📖right away. After that you'll get thoughtfully written emails every week about React, JavaScript, and your career. Lessons learned over my 20 years in the industry working with companies ranging from tiny startups to Fortune5 behemoths.

Start with an interactive cheatsheet 📖

Then get thoughtful letters 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career.

"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only email I open from marketers and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"

~ Ashish Kumar

Join over 10,000 engineers just like you already improving their JS careers with my letters, workshops, courses, and talks. ✌️

Have a burning question that you think I can answer? I don't have all of the answers, but I have some! Hit me up on twitter or book a 30min ama for in-depth help.

Ready to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own?  Learn how to build scalable dataviz components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization

Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, modern backend for the frontend engineer.

Ready to learn how it all fits together and build a modern webapp from scratch? Learn how to launch a webapp and make your first 💰 on the side with ServerlessReact.Dev

Want to brush up on your modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️