Richard Feynman conceptually jump-started nanotechnology with his farsighted 1959 observation.
Since the Internet’s become pervasive, myriad companies purporting to enable micropayments — those less than a dollar — have come and gone.
It’s sort of like the “smart house” — always just around the corner, but never seeming to arrive.
Peppercoin, out of Waltham, Massachusetts, is the latest contender/pretender.
The company says that in the past year, 14 million Americans have purchased something online for $2 or less, up from 4 million the previous year.
The idea is to let you use a credit card in vending machines or parking meters for payments under a dollar, with no friction.
The idea of making just a little money per transaction is taking hold in other arenas as well: witness the recent book by C. K. Prahalad, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits.
Then there was the interesting story in Wired magazine a few months back by Chris Anderson, which demonstrated with an amazing graph that Amazon makes more money from books that sell very few copies than it does from bestsellers, simply because there are so many more books out under the tail of the curve.
Did someone just say, “A penny for your thoughts?”