kottke.org posts about The Tipping Point

Duncan Watts' research is challenging the theoryJan 30 2008

Duncan Watts' research is challenging the theory that a small group of influential people are responsible for triggering trends as explained in Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point.

"If society is ready to embrace a trend, almost anyone can start one--and if it isn't, then almost no one can," Watts concludes. To succeed with a new product, it's less a matter of finding the perfect hipster to infect and more a matter of gauging the public's mood. Sure, there'll always be a first mover in a trend. But since she generally stumbles into that role by chance, she is, in Watts's terminology, an "accidental Influential."

Perhaps the problem with viral marketing is that the disease metaphor is misleading. Watts thinks trends are more like forest fires: There are thousands a year, but only a few become roaring monsters. That's because in those rare situations, the landscape was ripe: sparse rain, dry woods, badly equipped fire departments. If these conditions exist, any old match will do. "And nobody," Watts says wryly, "will go around talking about the exceptional properties of the spark that started the fire."

I've previously covered some of what Clive talks about in the article.

Harvard Business Review has compiled a listJan 31 2007

Harvard Business Review has compiled a list of breakthrough ideas for 2007. "Our annual survey of emerging ideas considers how nanotechnology will affect commerce, what role hope plays in leadership, and why, in an age that practically enshrines accountability, we need to beware of 'accountabalism.'" The first idea on the list comes from Duncan Watts, whose research shows that it's not so-called influentials who are responsible for driving cultural trends (as argued in The Tipping Point) but the presence of many ordinary people who are able to be influenced within a given social network.

Lots of chatter lately about the "brokenMar 28 2006

Lots of chatter lately about the "broken windows" theory of why the US crime rate dropped so dramatically in the 80s and 90s. Writing in the Boston Globe, Daniel Brook explores the possible cracks in the theory, while proponents William Bratton & George Kelling defend it from "attacks" from 'liberals", "anti-police groups", and "ivory-tower academics". Gladwell says broken windows holds up, Dubner disagrees, and Gladwell rebuts.

Good interview with Malcolm Gladwell about Blink on Powells.comJul 21 2005

Good interview with Malcolm Gladwell about Blink on Powells.com.

If you don't have time to readJul 20 2005

If you don't have time to read the whole book, here's an outlined summary of Gladwell's The Tipping Point.

Tags related to The Tipping Point:
Malcolm Gladwell books social networks Duncan Watts

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