A-Z Popular Blog Culture Change Search »
Business Guide











Business Models


21 Characteristics of the Experience Age

The experience age is a designation for the present age that is defined by the importance of intangible things to economic production, society and culture.

Intangible Value

The experience age is defined by the dominance of intangible value to modern economies. Historically, most economic value was in the form of products and raw materials. The experience age demarks an economic shift from things that have a physical form towards intangible things whereby the later begins to represent the dominant type of economic activity. Intangible economic value includes things like services, brands, code, algorithms, digital transactions, digital products, customer experience, shared experiences, epic experiences, storytelling, designs, creative works, inventions, concepts, education, cultural capital and influence that have little or no physical presence.

Knowledge Economy

There have been many different terms used to describe the shift towards intangible value as the primary type of economic output. First it was known as the service economy that denotes the increasing dominance of the services sector as compared to the manufacturing and primary sector. It is also common to refer to this economic shift as the knowledge economy based on the observation that increasing numbers of workers product knowledge artifacts such as strategies, plans, designs, code and documentation.

Experience Economy

The experience age phrases the economic shift towards the intangible from the perspective of the customer -- the customer pays for an end-to-end experience. For example, a customer may pay $1000 for a handbag with brand image that they identify with or they may forever avoid a hotel chain based on a single bad experience with front desk staff. Customer experience has immense value such that the value of physical components of things can be small in comparison.


Dematerialization is the tendency for each dollar of economic production to require less and less raw materials. This is based on smaller and lighter products. It is also based on the value of knowledge, innovation, services and experiences that often have no physical presence. Energy efficiency and renewable energy such as solar also add to dematerialization as historically each dollar of GDP required a great deal of oil.

Commoditization of Experience

The design and production of products and services that serve every human need. For example, a video game that serves the human need for adventure and epic meaning.


Products and services that provide an escape from everyday realities. This includes familiar services such as television and emerging experiences such as games that simulate life itself.


Services both nonprofit and for profit that help people to feel included and to meet real people, in a digital or real environment. This includes everything from a neighborhood volunteer organization to a nightclub.


Relativism is the idea that there is no universal reality, only individual experience of reality. This is a core tenet of postmodern thinking that has dominated the social sciences for several decades. Relativism calls for absolute individualism whereby there are no common truths to unite people. As this asserts people owe society nothing, any attempt to enforce common values and practices is viewed as oppression. This shows up in culture as a sense that nothing is real and that objectivity is meaningless.


Idealism is the belief that imagination defines reality and not the other way around. This is based on the observation that storytelling can become a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby the fiction of today is often the invention of tomorrow.

Imagination Economy

The tendency for products of the imagination such as design, storytelling and invention to become an increasingly important economic activity.

Small Teams

A tendency towards smaller and smaller creative efforts. For example, the emergence of a large number of independent creators in industries such as music and media who may collaborate with others in decoupled ways.

Remix Culture

A read-write culture of creative production whereby creators build on each other's works. This is one of the ways that small creators compete with far larger organizations.


Subculture is a flexible culture created by any shared experience. As a result of the internet, people have the ability to meet others with the same interests and way of thinking such that culture tends to fragment into subculture.


The experience age has been a time of rapid change driven by technology such that societies, industries, cultures and professions are constantly changing. This is a process of creative destruction whereby the old ways are quickly replaced.

Traditional Culture

Traditional culture plays an important role in the experience age to help to stabilize society. As such, it is not likely to be abandoned but rather may strengthen as change accelerates.

Digital Convergence

Digital convergence is the tendency for all digital technologies to become one over time. For example, the smartphone replaces a large number of specialized electronic devices such as alarm clocks or game systems.

Immersive Experience

Virtual reality that provides fully digital experiences that feel real and mixed reality that combines digital and real world elements.

Long Tail

Long tail is the ability of everyone to compete in areas that were once dominated by large firms and professionals. This first occurred in the media industry whereby social media allows everyone to compete with large media empires. With time, long tail reaches more and more industries as access to technology creates opportunities for broad participation in everything. For example, home 3d printers could one day make factories irrelevant.

Maker Culture

The tendency for people to design, produce and repair things for themselves due to the increased availability of information and digital communities that inspire people to be creative and productive.

Age of the Customer

An economic shift where customer experience is all important and customers rapidly share information with other customers in order to shift power in their favor. This works well except in the case of monopolies whereby customers have no realistic alternatives anyway.

Start Date

The experience age begins in 1955. This date is based on the opening of Disneyland on July 17, 1955. This changed everything as an early example of how to use storytelling, characters, brands and epic experiences to create immense value. For example, if you look at advertising from the early 1950s it is often focused on selling the features of a product. After 1955, advertising begins a seismic shift towards storytelling, branding, emotion and selling the total experience of a product.

Experience Age

This is the complete list of articles we have written about experience age.
Cultural Capital
Customer Experience
Experience Economy
Human Experience
Information Age
Knowledge Economy
Long Tail
Low Culture
Maker Culture
Mixed Reality
Performing Art
Service Economy
Shared Experience
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.

Culture Change

An overview of culture change with examples.

Culture Opposite

A list of words that can be considered the opposite of culture.

American Culture

An overview of American culture with examples.

Digital Culture

An overview of digital culture with examples.

Pros Cons of Globalization

An overview of potential pros and cons of globalization.

Mass Culture

The definition of mass culture with examples.

Culture Industry

An overview of culture industry with examples.

Pop Culture Examples

An overview of pop culture with examples.

Cultural Issues

The definition of cultural issues with examples.


An overview of culture.

Abstract Art

The major types of abstract art with an example of each.


The common types of historical analysis.

Social Change

An overview of the common types of social change.

Structural Functionalism

The definition of structural functionalism with examples.

Art Forms

A list of the common art forms.

Art Nouveau

The basic characteristics of Art Nouveau with examples.

Jazz Age

An overview of the jazz age.


The definition of progress with examples.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map