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No customers required

Reverse engineering the business model
Dateline: 27 May 2027

A traditional business typically starts with a product or service and finds customers to buy it. In the information age, an enterprising business starts with the customer, and figures out how to add value by meeting their needs. Sales or revenue from delivering value is the lifeblood of the business in both cases, but working backwards from the customer gives better results – just ask Amazon.

Now there’s a business that’s taken the concept of ‘innovating to zero’ – zero waste, zero friction, zero mistakes – to a whole new level; they’ve got zero customers. And they’re not the government.

ZeroX has turned the business model inside out, and dispensed with the idea of customer sales altogether. Instead of customers, they have members, who collectively own the business. It’s a platform business that caters exclusively to the needs of its members, delivering maximum value with zero wasted overheads.

Think of it as an Uber where the riders are the members, and ride at cost, as they don’t have to show a profit. Or a personal Amazon-type store that always delivers what you want and need at the lowest price. With ‘free’ delivery. Magically aggregating and sourcing what every member wants.

That’s a radical idea, and just wasn’t feasible without smart home devices, massive data, artificial intelligence and distributed blockchain technology. And people who were willing to live the ultra-connected life. But ZeroX has pulled it off, and now boasts millions of members.

But no customers. They’re not required.

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Warning: Hazardous Thinking at Work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer. © Public domain image.

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