I understand that the dictator Joseph Stalin was quoted for saying this. Surprising since it really is a such a perceptive quote and he was such a mislead individual. The tyranny, death, and suffering he inflicted upon the people of the old U.S.S.R. is a testimony of the ruthlessness of ideological Communism.
Still, it is a fantastic quote as it cuts through the Quality vs Quantity dichotomy. I have believed that Quality and Quantity are two different characteristics, that they were not related, and having more of one usually meant having less of the other.
Yet when I think about it in relation to money it makes sense. A $1000 is a bigger quantity than $1. It is also a better quality in relation to what you can do with it. The quality is better because the quantity is more. The same could be said about other multiples such as food, houses, and soldiers (which I assume is what Stalin was referring to) . Quantity at some levels will change the perception of quality. We are starting to see this act itself out in the growing business segment of eCommerce which has taken this to new levels.
Chris Anderson’s article “Free! Why $0.00 is the Future of Business” in Wired Magazine explains that it can actually be profitable to give away products as Yahoo does with free unlimited web mail space. This is an opposite extrapolation of this meme as free or zero quantity has become the new quality in the world of business. In the mind of the customer, the quantity of $0.00 has a quality all of its own.
The world is a funny place. A deceased communist dictator helped define a new principle taking root in the world of business. Communists believe that wealth should be distributed to everyone freely. Ironically, the most recent evolution of internet based capitalism is actually granting this.