Extrinsic and Intrinsic Models

I mentioned earlier the industrial model of production and consumption, one in which value was produced by manufacturing goods or creating services that might be beneficial to identified users. In this model, value is often extrinsic to the user, it is a feature of the product or service, it concerns the physical attributes of the system, its mechanical performance, or the performance of the personnel engaged in the service. All these are components of a system, and because they are parts they can be improved in terms of material quality or fabrication process, in visible ways, giving a user the sentiment of 'value for the money.'

All of these aspects of a product are extrinsic to an individual user. They need to be explained, advertised, promoted, and learned. Once a user learns the operational principles of the product, he or she engages in a short-term behavior. However, behavior is not the goal here, the goal is the accomplishment of a specific task, for example making coffee, mixing dough, cutting the grass, and so on.

In the behavior model—Facebook or Twitter as examples—behavior is the only goal. There is little value in the physicality, the material, or the technical features of the system. The user is only interested in these as a bridge between himself and the behavior platform. How do we create value here? The value we can create is the value of the experience. The more dimensions of experience we can fulfill the more compelling the value we create. The two models have two different value metrics: Intrinsic Value is what the thing is worth to you, and its meaning. Extrinsic Value is what the thing is made of, what it does, and how it does it.

The two models illustrated here are models of two economic systems where motivation is key. The consumption economy operates in a discourse of monetary value, which is a media of exchange of physical goods or services that must be measured in order to achieve fair trade: how many ships do you need to trade for a pile of wood to heat you up during the winter.

The platform economy operates where direct exchange is possible—we are talking about the direct exchange of stimuli between individuals that takes the form of:

  • • Spiritual exchange (beliefs about the universe and meaning of humanity).
  • • Mental exchange (attention, inspiration, ideation).
  • • Emotional exchange (love, aspirations, admiration).
  • • Power exchange (feeling of empowerment, teamwork).
  • • Passion exchange (desires and wants—it feels good when you resonate with someone who's passionate about the same thing as you).
  • • Safety and well being.

Platforms allow for this exchange at the interpersonal level. You feel the need and you get it resolved—not via a purchase of goods or a service from someone, but via engagement with other individual who either can give you the stimuli you need, or can consume the stimuli that you have in abundance.

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