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Alumni Profile

B. Joseph Pine II

B. Joseph Pine II, MOT ’91

Co-founder, Strategic Horizons LLP

  • Has taught at Penn State, Duke Corporate Education, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • His book The Experience Economy was named one of the 100 best business books of all time by 800ceoread
  • Co-founded Strategic Horizons LLP, a thinking studio for businesses to add value to their offerings

When Joe Pine buys coffee at Starbucks, he doesn’t consider himself purchasing a mere product. Rather, he is paying for an engaging experience culminating from all elements in the coffee house—the music, the comfy chairs, the interactions with staff, and the time to contemplate. Pine coined the phrase “Experience Economy” to describe this phenomenon in his book of the same name, coauthored with Jim Gilmore and published in 1999. The Experience Economy has since become a staple in the business world, shifting perspective to acknowledge that firms offering memorable experiences over mundane goods and services gain greater value.

It was his work at MIT Sloan in mass customization that led Pine to the discovery of the Experience Economy. While at the School, he began his first book, Mass Customization: The New Frontier in Business Competition, as an extension of his thesis.

“One day I was teaching IBM consultants how whenever you mass-customize a good, it automatically turns it into a service and gives it greater value,” recalls Pine. “Then someone asked, ‘What happens when you mass-customize a service?’ I replied without thinking, ‘That makes it an experience!’ ”

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