Ben has a post about a beer made by an order of monks in Belgium. These monks, who have taken vows of silence, only sell the beer by appointment, don’t label the bottles, and severely limit the supply they create. As you can imagine for a beer that some call the best in the world, it has quite a cult following.
There are two ingredients to this remarkability. The first, as Ben points out, is the idea of ritual. By changing the way the product is created and distributed, they add a religious and spiritual element to the process (even if they weren’t monks). Second, they’re not trying to sell the most. That’s critical.
When you try to maximize anything, you work to be efficient, to fit in, to appeal to the average person, since that’s where the numbers are. Every time Budweiser makes a decision, it seems to make sense, since they’re trying to sell the most beer. Most embraces systems and policies that make sense. But most rarely succeeds.