crapshoot economics
n. A business model in which only a few out of a large number of products or services are successful, but those few generate enough profits for the business to survive.
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Who can say who will be the next Kid Rock? And so crap-shoot economics — blockbuster or bust — rule. Record companies are willing to roll the dice a hundred times to have a Britney Spears come up once.
—James Surowiecki, “Video kills the video star,” The New Yorker, August 20, 2001
2000 (earliest)
'The fact that he's paid is the reason they got such a glowing report,' said Larry Page, executive director of the anti-gambling Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council. 'This is crapshoot economics.'
—Michael Rowett, “Proponents' study: Casinos would make enough to cut grocery tax,” The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, October 28, 2000
A crapshoot is a risky venture that has an unpredictable outcome. This word entered the language in the early 1970s and it came from the game of craps, where a throw of the dice is called a shoot. Crapshoot economics is much newer, with the earliest citation I could find being less than a year old.
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