Humans have evolved to seek social status. In a time of Instagram and followers its as front and centre as ever. But you can’t eat social status. Nor can you use it to pay the bills.
One trend I’ve noticed is businesses which essentially create novel ways for people to monetize their status. Cameo is the best example of this. The platform connects celebrities (of all degrees) with customers who pay for a personalised video. The interesting thing is that the good being exchanged is not important. The video is pretty immaterial. The value is in making a connection with someone you admire, like or find funny. Often its a sense of nostalgia. For the celeb, it’s an easy way to make money at scale, often more attractive when they are at the tail-end of their career.
Another example is Play With a Legend. This marketplace connects you with a former premier league footballer who can attend your event (think birthday parties and charity games). Again, having the footballer play with you is not the primary benefit. It’s making a connection with someone you grew up watching on the TV and hearing their stories.
These marketplaces create money out of nowhere. I imagine there are versions of this model that could be created in a number of niches. I look forward to seeing them pop up.