Bruce Sterling’s Anticonventional Objects: Buildable, Profitable, Desirable

Futurist and science fiction writer Bruce Sterling tweeted out his Anticonventional Objects Venn Diagram over the weekend, a graphic he shared at the Maker Fiare in Italy back in 2013.

It’s his take on Hugh Dubberly’s Successful Product map (finding the perfect intersection of: What do people desire? What will sustain business? What can we build?) and instead lasers in on the types of objects that lie outside of those ideal parameters.

We spend so much time thinking of how to make the perfect product or campaign or idea, it’s also important to think through those that are not perfect — on purpose.

Bruce Sterling


Per BoingBoing:

For instance, things that are profitable, but not desirable or buildable, include speculation, embezzlement, frauds, hoarding, theft, vaporware, and hoaxes.

Things that are desirable, but not buildable or profitable, include fantasies, speculations, the magical, and the mythical.

Things that are buildable, but neither profitable nor desirable, include trash, pollution, and entropy.

Things that are buildable and profitable but not desirable include niche products, hobby gear, long tail objects, weaponry, and criminal hardware.

I love this way of thinking. Sometimes the best ideas won’t check all the boxes, and that can be purposeful.