This has been on my mind all week, so getting these thoughts into a note will get them out of my brain. It’s a product fiction to play with monetisation strategies that Rabbit might adopt in future for its R1.

The original thought was: What’s the arc of enshittification for the Rabbit R1? But after coming across an interview with its inventor, Jesse Lyu, that Tobias shared, I had more context to work with.

Lyu says that the products margins are good but people could spend $15 a month on processing intent via ChatGPT, so with 50,000 users that’s $750,000 a month in costs right away. Add in all your other operational costs and its $30 million in funding makes for, what, a two- or three-year runway? They need revenue.

Options

  • Transaction fees: Every time you ask a rabbit to do something, maybe Rabbit claims a fee. 79 cents.

  • Subscription model: So users can avoid transaction fees. Probably just pass the ChatGPT costs on to users, so $15 a month.

  • Tip your rabbit: If you tip your rabbit, it’ll do a better, more accurate job. Hilariously this is a real thing! Just like in Ubik.

  • Adverts on the free tier: ‘And now a word from our sponsors’ but coming out of an orange box in your pocket. Again, Ubik.

  • Biz dev: Special offers from other brands. Or access to unique products from luxury brands, considering this may be adopted mostly by rich folk. For the aspirational middle-earners, Bloomberg will describe this as ‘democratising luxury’ or something similarly saccharine.

  • Rabbit store: Taking a percentage of revenue from user-built rabbits, like Apple’s App Store. According to Lyu, this is one business model they will actually pursue. (Although they’ll need a name that doesn’t sound like a dildo shop.)