March 19, 2008

A Short History of King Gillette

kingG.jpgRegular ShavingStuff readers know that I'm a fan of Wired Magazine, and I often cite shaving-related stories from there. The recent issue of Wired had a great story by editor-in-chief Chris Anderson entitled Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business. How is this related to shaving? Allow me to quote from the beginning of the article:

At the age of 40, King Gillette was a frustrated inventor, a bitter anticapitalist, and a salesman of cork-lined bottle caps. It was 1895, and despite ideas, energy, and wealthy parents, he had little to show for his work. He blamed the evils of market competition. Indeed, the previous year he had published a book, The Human Drift, which argued that all industry should be taken over by a single corporation owned by the public and that millions of Americans should live in a giant city called Metropolis powered by Niagara Falls. His boss at the bottle cap company, meanwhile, had just one piece of advice: Invent something people use and throw away.

Got your attention? I thought so.

The first couple paragraphs cover the story of King Gillette, and then article takes a more modern turn and discusses how today's companies can give away services and still make money. (Think Google.) Definitely worth a read even though the rest is not shaving-related.

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Posted by Russell Neufeld at March 19, 2008 9:00 AM
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