Supermodel markets

now that's a supermodelLast week, Seth Godin wrote an interesting post about supermodels. A supermodel makes a lot more money and is infinitely more famous than a merely good model. “There’s a leap between model and supermodel,” says Seth.  There is not much in between. “You are either seen as worth the super premium or you’re not.” Seth, who is a supermodel in his own right, goes on to give some word of advice to would-be supermodels: “The leap must be an intentional one. You don’t walk there. You leap.”

The supermodel effect is a logical outcome in markets with very specific characteristics. At the poker table, a slightly better hand can make all the difference.

Supermodel markets resemble the poker table. The game is played in rounds (fashion seasons, sports competitions) and every round is very much ‘winner takes all’. When you loose a couple of rounds in a row, you’re dead. In addition, supermodel markets are usually linked to mass media and mass consumer markets. Public fame is equally important for a supermodel’s value as is objective quality. For a supermodel, it’s easier to stay at the top than to get there.

Supermodel markets are relatively rare. Fashion, tv and film, pop music, professional sports, writing and public speaking- that’s about it. Because of the super premium, many lawyers, managers, and consultants like to think they are in a supermodel market, but they almost never are. In these fields you can usually hire someone just as good for half the price of of the well-known names.