Rollo recently posted an essay where he talks about the concept of value added, more specifically about a tendency among women to conflate their sexual market value with their worth as a human being. This is largely a function of women having reduced themselves to sexual commodities, and one key characteristics of a commodity in a market is that there is little if any differentiation. For instance, if I were to purchase aluminum ingots or oil in the spot market, no company really offers a differentiated product, they are all sold based on lowest cost. In the same manner, if the only thing being “sold” in the sexual market place is the act of sex, one could argue that such a product is largely undifferentiated.
Naturally, for the act of sex one prefers a packaging that is aesthetically pleasing, this goes for both men and women. In today’s online sexual market place, it doesn’t matter much how great your personality is, as most purchasing processes start with determining whether a product passes the hurdle rate for appearance, and then if it does one explores other product features.
Much of product design is based on an idea for a product, and then after the idea generation and prototyping phases, one comes up with the value proposition to the market. My preference is to begin with a market analysis, and then creating the product, in order to ensure that will be customers for the product. It is generally also much cheaper to conduct market research than it is to develop products. From this approach, one can develop a good sense of the market in which one will operate, and which product characteristics are important to the potential customer base. One can even identify the price ceiling, potential volumes and various other important input to the product design process.
If one compares Vodka to Whiskey for instance, the former is ethanol and water, the latter is also ethanol and water, but the process of production has a large influence on the end-product. Vodka is differentiated 90% using brand building and marketing. Whiskey is differentiated in the same manner, however, much of the marketing is based on differences in the production process. These differences range from the grain bill (malt, rye, corn, etc), malt processing (peat levels), type of distillation (pot still or column still) time spent cask aging, type of casks that the whiskey has been aged in, and single malt vs. blended.
The basic market research I did prior to my Tinder experiment was based on the theory of sexual market value throughout a woman’s life. More specifically, that women aged 28 – 35 would display a preference for more “beta traits” and women under 28 would show a preference for more “Alpha traits”. The first ever Gendernomics metaphor that hit me in the early days of writing this blog, was that based on Briffault’s law,
“the female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place.”
From this perspective, it was quite obvious that men are by default the sell-side in the sexual market place, and women are the buy-side. There are a lot more major actors on the sell-side than the buy side, and while the sell-side has to engage in various forms of salesmanship, chase customers, cold-call, and so on, the buy side can merely sit back and wait for the sellers to come to them. For the most part anyway, even within the sell-side of any industry, there are a few companies that often have buyers chasing them, because they are doing something that offers great value, is rare and that the buy side really wants. To continue the example with alcoholic beverages, connoisseurs pound the doors at distilleries selling 100 year old Cognac, Champagne from the Titanic, or 100 year old single malt, meanwhile there are hundreds if not thousands of vodka manufacturer’s that have to spend millions on branding to even be able to get break-even sales.
It’s all about creating a product that is hard to make, it’s not difficult to distill alcohol or make wine, it requires some knowledge of the trade and the process, however to truly create an exclusive, rare and highly in demand product is much more difficult, there are serious barriers of entry at play. One can break these two approaches down using Michael E. Porter’s generic strategies, that I talked about in an earlier essay. The Vodka producers are largely seeking cost-leadership, meaning that they can sell a lot of their product to a market at a price below that of their competition. The producers of 100 year old Brandy or 50 year old single-malt, are seeking differentiation, making their product so highly regarded, so sought after and so different that people will pay whatever they ask. They do not have to sell much of it, because they command a very high price.
I would argue that the “Alpha” is a differentiated product based on offering something that is rare in the market and highly sought after by the consumers, something they are willing to pay a premium to obtain. I would argue that the “Beta” is a cost-leadership focused product, masquerading as a differentiated product, which is based on offering the consumer the best possible deal.
If we assume that the old statement “Men use a relationship to negotiate sex, women use sex to negotiate a relationship” holds, then according to the preceding reasoning, it follows that a woman who gives up sex early has perceived the man (or rather his genetic material) to be of such high worth compared to other offerings in the market, that she is willing to slap the briefcase table and say “Take whatever you want”. A man who on the other hand gives up a relationship too early, is one who is likely not seeing much demand in the market, and thus feels compelled and pressured to land a sale no matter what. He has creditors banging on the door, a bank calling him for loan repayments, and is 2 days away from being kicked out of his house, “Ol’ Gil needs this sale.
If one assumes, conversely, that women want the relationship, and pay for that relationship with sex, furthermore, that men want sex and pay for that sex by offering a relationship, then one has to review the product choice criteria themselves.In order to do this, one has to determine what is the core driver of the process. Hypergamy posits that there are 2 drives:
A) The drive for the highest possible quality genetic material
B) The drive for long-term security
It’s more complex, but the above serves as both an illustration and as a foundation for the remainder of this essay. One must necessarily conclude that the choice criteria to determine high quality genetic material differs from that of long-term security, in the same manner that the choice criteria driving the purchase of a high powered sportscar would differ from the purchase of a sensible minivan. However, the good boys do not realize the existence of these two choice criteria, and this is where their strategic error lies. This is quite similar to how the railroads made a strategic blunder by defining themselves in terms of “transporting goods and passengers by rail” rather than “transporting goods and passengers”. The reason may not be apparent at first, however, the former definition excludes transport methods such as airplanes, trucks, and boats, thus when conducting a competitor or market analysis, one would exclude large swaths of competitors, and thus one would conduct an analysis that was hopelessly out of touch with the actual market. The latter definition is much better, because it focuses on what the company actually does, as separate from how it does it. A company who conducted an analysis based on the latter definition, can focus on how to create a competitive advantage, business model, and strategy that is focused on the actual customer need, rather than the means by which the company does it.
The “I’m not like those other guys” strategy that is a core-part of beta game, does appear to be a case of differentiation at first, however when one analyzes the value proposition of Beta game it is based on high value at very low cost (to the consumer). Most of “The Good Boys” have spent their entire lives developing a value proposition that they think grant them differentiation, they are well-educated with stable jobs and predictable earning power. They want an “equal partner“, they are often clever, with a decent sense of humor and very socially conscious. However, the reality of the situation is that they are eager to get the sale, and therefore they have built a product that offers immense value to the consumer, however the market is flooded with similar products. They are building themselves to be low cost to women, meaning that they are OK with going on 8 dates before getting some lackluster sex, they are OK with the women bringing very little value to the relationship. This is how a man with a high, stable income, who is well-educated and has his shit in order ends up married to a woman who has $150k in student debt, despite not having finished her degree, who only brings a vagina into the relationship.
The “Alpha” approach on the other hand is a true differentiated product, while I did break down some of the traits in an earlier essay, the alpha construct remains elusive and is not really the subject matter for this essay. However, the key characteristic of the alpha male is the market response, the customers will pay the alpha whatever he wants while making few if any demands. You try to negotiate price on a $20 bottle of wine at a vineyard if you know they barely get any customers , you don’t try to haggle over the price of a $200.000 bottle of Cognac of which 3 exist, because you know that the second you leave the room the owner has other buyers lined up.
To summarize the preceding section, all of this comes down to how the product is positioned in the market, and how the market perceives the product. This is summarized in the graphic below:
This graph is something called a market positioning map, they have a lot of different uses, from providing snapshots of different companies within an industry at present, to serving as maps for aspirations, for instance wanting to move from being perceived as low quality to high quality or based on a number of different characteristics. The orange line serves as the “cutoff” between the Alpha and Beta sections of the map, but obviously there will be some overlap between the two, especially in the case of “Blue pill alphas”, greater beta and lesser alpha and so on.
The goal of this map is to highlight the key difference in how the market (women) view these products. Women will prefer to be able to find a mate from the high quality/high price quadrant, but in the case of many women this is not realistic. This is the same as wanting to buy a $40.000 watch, but not being able to afford it, you may be able to rent one for a few days, but you just don’t have the disposable income to buy one.
Most men who find the red pill want to get into that top right quadrant of the map, first they have to pass the hurdle rate, then they have to work on their own competitive advantages, how they stand apart from other men, and the great zerg rush of “average dudes”. These are men that represent both high quality men to women, but the women are also desperate for the product and willing to pay what he wants, when he wants it. These men have both alpha male traits, and provider traits to some extent. Think alpha millionaire. To be a little uncouth, these men are the cocaine of the sexual market place, you don’t sell cocaine, you offer cocaine.
The position you definitely do not want to occupy on this graph is the bottom left quadrant, these are men that are desperate for female companionship but they are for all intents and purposes invisible to women. They are willing to wait forever for sex, demand nothing of the women but also have very little to offer the women, in a relationship or otherwise. They have no competitive advantage at all, they do not offer value for price, and they cannot make their price low enough to get any interested buyers. These men do not have an alpha mindset and they do not have any resources. These men are the half full syringe of … something you found in the dumpster behind a strip club of the sexual market place.
The top halves of the two remaining quadrants do have legitimate markets that they can appeal to, the top left quadrant represents high quality, at a low price, which is value for money. Thus, it consists of a mixture of greater beta males, men who are the classic beta providers and may have occasional flashes of alpha. Alternatively, men with a high volume of alpha traits and fewer resources. For the upper left quadrant think typical middle manager, perhaps even on the executive track, or regionally famous musician who is still struggling to make it big. The top half lower right quadrant, is also the “value for money” area. These men are the Lagavulin 16 year, perfectly acceptable middle-range choice at that price point, but not really exceptionally good or exceptionally bad.
The lower halves of the top left and bottom right quadrants are your typical AFC areas, they are stuck in the middle market-wise, they are simply the average guy. Won’t do horribly bad in the market, won’t do overly good either. Kind of the standard fare vodka or mass produced boxed wine of the sexual market place, most of the market won’t refuse it if it’s free but few will ever order it if other choices are available.
Summary and Conclusions
One of the major problems I keep seeing with some of the companies I’ve worked with is that over time a company can get very introverted. What I mean by this is that rather than looking out into the market, they look inwards at themselves. This is always a sign of a company that is highly likely to face declining fortune in whatever market they serve, because they begin to put what is important to them before what is important to the customer. Much of the time, they have no real idea about who their customer is, what their customer wants, or what are important factors in their buying decisions. Sometimes, I think that the Red Pill discussions can have some of the same tendencies, we spend a lot of time discussing “What makes a guy alpha or beta” from a theoretical perspective, when all that matters is what the market thinks is alpha or beta.
I used a similar analogy in an earlier essay, but it needs repeating, you and other men care that you can deadlift 800 lbs, squat 500, and bench 414, women care that you look like you lift and that you’re lean. Men care that you’re seeing 50% year on year growth, women care that you drive a lambo and that you have a $30k watch. As men we are deductive problem solvers, thus we enjoy talking to other men about specific things that they did so that we can become better problem solvers. This is true in any male endeavor, from male gamers who exchange information about the best builds, key bindings, peripherals, and team strategies, to lifters exchanging diet and program tips, entrepreneurs discussing corporate structures and every other area of interest where a bunch of men are involved.
These conversations can often be useful and I’ve learned a lot from talking to other men about their area of expertise, however it must always be with at least 1 eye towards the effect in the market. If you start lifting to improve your sexual market value, then 6 months in after talking to “the guys” you want to bring your PL total up, so you decide that you’re just going to do the “Gallon of whole milk and 5×5 squats every day” program, you’ve taken your eye off the market. If you change your mind and want to pursue a different strategy, that’s fine but make it a conscious choice.
It’s so easy to get dragged into something in the short term that is not conduce to the long-term strategy that you have laid for yourself.