More modern alchemy - delta_november — LiveJournal
Dec. 17th, 2014
07:54 pm - More modern alchemy
As I have mentioned before, I like to think of my business as alchemy. We take base materials (copper, aluminum, fiberglass, solder) and with great labour fabricate a small amount of very precious stuff. Over the years that stuff has become more and more valuable. I've built some things (big simple electromagnets) that have sold for about $10,000 / kg. That's about as valuable as saffron. When we got into mechanisms that increased to about $150,000 / kg. That takes us into heroin and methamphetamine territory. Recently we've moved to rugged miniaturized optical systems. They go for $1,000,000 / kg, which is somewhere between cocaine and LSD.
It used to be a truism that an aerospace component shipped with paper that out-weighted it. Now that things are digital, I think a different metric is appropriate: compare the number of bytes of End Item Data Package that ships with the unit to the storage of its own internal computer. I'm in the process of shipping some widgets that have taken the better part of a year to build. The EIDP fills 830 MB, while the combined non-volatile memory of the widgets is 2 GB. So I have yet to reach full-on aerospace ridiculousness!