Commoditizing Culture: Rebelling Against Algorithms

The world has become too commoditized. By commoditization, I mean “the transformation of goods, services, ideas, nature, personal information and people into commodities or objects of trade”. Uniformity is good, but so is differentiation. I worry too many things have shifted to uniformity and not enough differentiation.

A counter-movement needs to be developed. Some marketplaces are working on it. The beauty of marketplaces is they naturally let the seller and buyer develop culture.

Etsy in some ways is driving towards an un-commoditization, but I am not sure it is working. Airbnb definitely has un-commoditized travel, bringing back the culture. The difference is Etsy is more driven by an algorithm than Airbnb is. Algorithms drive uniformity, not differentiation. Etsy is meant to be an artists marketplace, but as the marketplace grows, how do you support differentiation? The top results get the majority of business. They become commoditized. The marketplace becomes commoditized.

Many marketplaces are meant to be commoditized. Amazon is driven by ease. Commodification increases ease.

Nothing wrong with commoditization. It makes things cheaper. It makes things easier. Some things need to be commoditized, but not everything. I’m not sure when the fight against commoditization will come or where it will come from, but I will keep my eyes open because I believe the opportunity in this space is huge.

Author: fatbabyfunds