Friday, March 16, 2007
The Tipping Point
Ever wondered how crocs (pictured above) caught on to be best sellers? Or anything for that matter be it a book, a song or even a hair style (or goatees for guys)? This is what The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell attempts to answer. According to the author, “ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.”
Epidemics such as the flue for example depend on the people who transmit them. Certain people have a higher chance of transmitting the virus than others (your barber for example working on the goatee sees a lot of other people). This is called the Law of the Few. Another factor is how strong the virus is (the Stickiness Factor). And finally the Power of Context, which could be the weather or close proximity of people, all leading to higher spread of the virus.
The author applies those three agents of change to analyze various phenomena in the world around us and how to go about reaching a Tipping Point. This is a useful tool to understand local trends such as the rise of political Islam. It is said that this book influenced Tony Blair back in the day when the conservatives were in power. Tony Blair and his liberal labor party managed to reach a Tipping Point. Can we do the same?