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As a coffee aficionado, I never thought the day would arrive that I would love an automatic coffee machine. But it’s true. I love my Nespresso machine. I bought my first in Hong Kong when I struggled to find a decent coffee anywhere on the island. And I’m embarassed to say, I sometimes even choose hotels based on whether there is a similar machine in my room. But if Nespresso, owned by Nestle, represents the past triumph of applying the Gillette ‘razor and blade’ business model to beverage consumables - it also points to the present failure of appliance brands to capitalising on their captured consumer base.
One of the best exhibitions I have seen in a while was ‘L’Art De L’Automobile’ - a selection of stunning vehicles from the Ralph Lauren car collection in Paris. You will see the cars of your dreams - and I mean that literally. These are not the original cars as they rolled off their production lines. You may see a historic sports car, but from its unique colour, upgraded upholstery, and bespoke ornamentation - means that it was much built by Bugatti as finished by Ralph Lauren. The purists are enraged at the motoring sacrilege, but I was rather delighted. It reminded me of the wonderful ways that we imbue technology with design and materials that are emblematic of its underlying attributes. A car should look fast even when its standing still, it should look expensive even when we don’t know the price tag, and a sports car should look like a race car even when its built for fat, rich old men. And what is true for cars, is especially true for gadgets.
© 2013 Tomorrow Limited