I’ve seen this coming for a while in the development of real products: auctioning off development services to the highest bidder instead of developers submitting competitive quotes to get a project. I think for Industrial Design it’ll happen pretty soon, especially when companies start to see the profession as filled with distinctly different kinds of designers: from the “make it pretty” crowd that doesn’t think too much to the “design the entire experience” people who also understand a client’s business (including their limitations). It’ll happen because along with most everything else, manufacturing is slowly becoming democratized.
Posting stuff like the entry on the architecture plans that were up for auction (reLink) is all about this shift. It’s why I followed eBay’s move to offer/endorse digital downloads last December and finally blogged about it in February (reLink). It’s where I plan to be … and why I delayed mentioning it to be honest.
By the way, take notice of the ringtone comment in that last link, and then take a look at news that eBay-owned Skype is looking to get into the surprisingly lucrative ringtone market (Link). Things become increasingly transparent (I just posted a long comment over on Blogspotting about AOL’s increasing transparency and how the major players are slowly starting to align in understandable ways).
Anyway, back to the main topic, here’s a good example of where things are going: a videogame development team is reportedly on the auction block (Link). No clue how legit this is, but even if it’s some mod team looking to get noticed, it’s important that it happened because it puts the idea into more people’s heads. I bet we see a full product development package up very soon.
This sort of news being spread via online media channels (from semi-MSM to little blogs like this) is why I expect more of this in the future. Imagine if musicians like Ludacris (who I caught a bit of on Jimmy Kimmel last night and who impressed me with his on-air demeanor) decide to make their own videogame as a vehicle for their work using a dev team they won at auction. It could happen. As evidenced on the late-night talkshow, Ludacris understands how to play the marketing game. And lots of other people know it too; increasingly so.
Plus, jumping into the auction market is a unique way to build a reputation. It may be risky, but the rewards are there. It’s a public way to put a team’s services in front of willing customers and – if the project is a success – the reward is priceless. In an increasingly flat world, people are definitely going to have to brand themselves more aggressively and this is a great way to do it. Anyway, you can read about Ludacris and his thoughts on leveraging new technology to promote product over on Yahoo News (Link). Who knows, maybe he’ll make his own movie instead (if it hasn’t already happened, I bet a film production team will be up for auction soon, too). Then he can use the fat pipes coming in the next five years (apparently – Link) to stream it. Seems AT&T is already looking to do that (Link).
And all this rambling came via Blue’s News links. It’s definitely getting easier to connect the dots.