Re: RP in stores now!

Date: Tue Oct 08 2002 - 22:44:59 EEST

Hi Folks:

I doubt that Neiman Marcus actually expects to sell this product. I'm sure
they'd be pleased to, but also surprised. Over the years the company has
frequently - if not always - included one or two outrageous gifts in their
Christmas catalog. The publicity that these things generate in the media is
of enormous value, probably worth millions. Each year the media looks
forward to something wild to write about the NM catalog - and they do!

I'm unfortunately not in the NM demographic either, so I don't pay much
attention, but I have been tuned in over the years because of an early
experience. Many years ago, before microcomputers, before integrated
circuits - before PC boards! - (but not before transistors, I assure you) - I
worked for a large computer company. The guys in the group working next to
ours designed a bizarre skin for one of our early minis. I can only describe
the result as the kind of thing that could be expected of a designer who was
the progeny of Darth Vader and Mary Poppins - ominously threatening shapes
with sharp edges in bold, cheery colors. That year NM chose that thing as
their "No Home Should Be Without One of These" gifts and put a $30,000 price
tag on it. The exact same mini in a rectangular box was about $15K as I

The publicity was enormous because there was no such thing as a personal
computer in those days. The very thought of an individual owning one was
novel, and the extreme design added to the mystique. I seem to remember they
actually did sell one or two them. It must have been hard for Mr. Neiman and
Mr. Marcus not to punch each other in the arm and to stifle their laughter
when handing over the keys.

But they got the desired result then, and the'yre still getting it today!

Ed Grenda
Castle Island Co.
19 Pondview Road
Arlington, MA 02474 USA
781-646-6280 (voice or fax) (email)
Worldwide Guide to Rapid Prototyping

(By the way, computers didn't have keyboards back then, just a row of lights
and toggle switches. You put the program in a word at a time in binary or
through the magic of paper tape. I could tell you stories...)

In a message dated 02-10-08 14:44:27 EDT, StevenP@DigitalJeweler.NET writes:

<< I guess if you compare Neiman Marcus to Annie Liebowitz you are saying
that Neiman Marcus promoting this service adds the same kind of value that an
artist adds to an original work. Maybe so in certain circles. Besides
putting it in their catalog what value do they add? Do they have an
exclusive arrangement whereby FAO Schwartz could not do the same thing for
 I am not knocking them, or you, doing this. I am just saying that at that
price there is not much competitive advantage to the technology approach
over the handmade.

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