They will outlast you.

Why are some industries so irrational (when seen from the point of view of the customer)?

So many things about college, funerals, real estate, hotels, weddings and the contractor trade are frustrating and opaque to customers. It almost seems as though they’re organized with a long-term, industry-wide focus away from customer satisfaction.

No one chooses to regularly have a party as expensive, isolating or stressful as a wedding is. We don’t view the pricing or activities of a funeral as natural or affirming. If someone tried to build an institution like college today, there’s no way it would be structured the way it is now. If you think about the rituals of most of these industries, they don’t make sense.

That’s because customers come and customers go. Sometimes quite literally, but always.

As a result, the customer is often a first-timer, in need of indoctrination. And the customer has far less power, because they won’t be back again any time soon.

In some ways, the connecting power of the internet reinforces this imbalance, allowing industry forces to coordinate and coalesce. But in other ways, each of these industries is open to radical shift because customers can get smarter and coordinate on their part as well.