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Are Enthusiast Products Expenses or Assets?
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Lots of questions, I'll do my best to give clear answers.
Does something like that (a p2p, barter focused, marketplace with value validation) exist today? Not that I know of. Nobody's really been in a position where it'd make sense to build such a thing. Medium of exchange is a pretty big thing that most business people have bought into, but as with all things, it was created based on certain requirements and assumptions.
Bartering was an inefficient way of exchanging value because there wasn't a good matchmaking system in place. If you have a heard of goats, and you want some bread to eat, you'd walk to the nearest town and hope the baker was looking for goat products. If the baker is not interested in goats or goat accessories, you're SOL because you can't spend two days walking to the next village on the off-chance their baker is interested in goat products.
Today, matchmaking can be solved via software. You have a $500 knife and you're interested in $500 headphones? Here are the first 10 people we found that have $500 headphones and want a $500 knife. EZ.
Logistics are solved by UPS/Fedex/USPS and Paypal/Venmo/Square. You were successfully matched with someone that's got a $500 headphone to trade for your $500 knife? NP, send money via internet, ship product via multitude of shipping providers, easiest day of your life.
The only remaining question is, how do we make sure folks are correctly representing the value of items they're trading? I think there's a clever solution based on a reputation system (misrepresent the value of a product and get shunned), some basic OCR, and a 2-3 person team to handle disputes when the scale gets large enough. It's a problem that lots of companies have already solved, with a slight additional twist.
Now, the question of "will Massdrop do this?" is not something I have the power to answer. I don't make choices for what we make or don't make for the website. Creating something like this would be a big undertaking, and we've got a long list of features and improvements to roll out over the course of this year. If it was something we were going to consider, that consideration wouldn't happen for some time.
For the question about Audiophiles, and the limit of "most consumers" ability to appreciate/hear the difference with high quality components, I think it's mostly psychological, consumers need guidance to be shown what to look for. Give a frat bro some JW Red, then give him some JW Blue. He'll probably notice the Blue is smoother, but if you asked him "How much more would you pay for Blue over Red?" his answer's probably not 1000%.
Now, if someone was there, explaining the nuance'd flavors of Blue, pointing them out to the frat bro, showing exactly how the experience is better, 1000% might not seem so crazy.
So the short answer is, unless you've experienced some serious hearing damage, I don't think you hit massively diminishing returns until you're past HD800s (~$1000), provided you love music and are willing to dedicate the time to pay it proper attention.