The relationship with the customer
If you’ve ever bought a mattress online, or a private label product from Amazon, you’ve experienced the value created by the last step.
That mattress company didn’t make the mattress.
And Amazon doesn’t make light bulbs.
There are countless factories vying to sell generic products to the companies that own the customer relationship. Perhaps 90% (sometimes 100%) of the profit goes to companies that make the sale, not the ones who actually made the product.
That’s because while they make the thing, they don’t do the work. The hard part is earning attention and trust. The hard part is helping someone make the choice. (There’s a difference between the hard part and the important part. Without the factory, there’s nothing to sell. Making it is important. But increasingly, it’s not the hard part.)
The Broadway producer makes a profit, the chorus member ekes out a living. Fair pay is related to the scarce work of engaging with the customer.
Either you’re doing the hard part or you’re left out of the transaction.