In my recent posts reviewing, and then discussing the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, I tried to express some of the things that don’t sound right to me in the book.
Gary points towards the absence of time in the Tipping Point structure. I might be a Maven now, but could be a Connector next year. The three types of people Maven, Connector, and Salesmen, represent different sorts of knowledge. Know what (to say), know who (to say it to), and know how (to say it), and you can spread your own little epidemic. But knowledge isn’t an unchanging commodity. It’s contextual, personal and changes over time. This change is not a part of the picture and it is precisely that that reminds me so much of the command and control systemics of the industrial management style. Thanks Gary, for making me realize that.
Stuart Henshall picks up on my suggestion to try and create an epidemic of our own and proposes some ideas to spread. He writes a thought provoking post on ‘Jazz Blogging’:

From my perspective most blogging today seems highly personal, the number of public community or cooperative blogs very limited. Of those personal blogs I see two kinds. First the blog done for primarily for intellectual interest, and second the blog that is part of an economic engine. While I see examples where coding solutions and new memes spread rapidly what clients want when it comes to thought-leaders is a safe place to engage. So blogs aren’t just thinking tools or communicating tools, they are also learning tools. It just how we apply them and how we create access. For them to really work some new business models must emerge around them.

And then goes on to name some characteristics of such a model, that could be put together and tested.
In the comments Terry Frazier points to Drupal as a possible medium for Stuarts wished for characteristics.
Update (May 18th 2003): See also Dave Pollard on the Tipping Point, and the comments where the demand for this theory being predictive is repeated.

2 reactions on “Tipping Point, Continued

  1. New business models? I don’t think that’s necessarily the aim. It could be that the free-ranging, spontaneous,creative brainstorming that goes on in some of the best blogs can come up with unconventional ideas for solving world problems that would never occur to the ‘experts’ and ‘professionals’.
    I started a blog only recently, using my cartoon alter-ego Augustine as the voice. It’s tongue-in-cheek but brings up some serious topics (e.g. imaginary interviews with Dubya Bush and Tony Blair about…God’s view of the Iraq war??) And only yesterday I had an idea about how to achieve world peace in seven easy steps. Now there’s a meme I’d like to spread! How about it? Should we make it contagious?

  2. One of the things we were taught in our HR negotiation class was negotiation styles. The styles coorelated to personality or temperment. Temperment is going to be relatively fixed.
    There is a time element, but not in terms of the individual. The individual is fixed in terms of role. They are not fixed in terms of content.
    That said, there is a risk orientation involved. The mavens take the risks. In Geoffrey Moore’s, technology adoption lifecycle, mavens are technical enthusiasts. And, each of us is a technical enthusiast realtive to some topics. The focus rule applies here 7+/-2 risks and no more. I’ll take a software product risk, but not a eye surgery risk.
    This risk orientation says we will be mavens for say seven things. It says nothing about our social disposition. I’m shy. I sell, but I don’t believe I sell. I am not a connecter by any means. But, this is just me.
    Time is a factor. Looking at “How Hits Happen” by Winslow Farrol, we see that time is maliable in terms of speeding up or slowing down the epidemic. Farrol built agent-based models imbued with the behaviors of those in influence networks. He used those models to test tactics and create hits.
    Peter’s [?] the “Diffusion of Innovation” was the first to describe influence networks. Other people built this model.
    Moore also says that the technology adoption lifecycle isn’t about time. But, for me, there is definately a sequence, an asynchronous sequence. You can’t tell time by it, but you do know what needs to happen next.

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