Friday, November 18, 2005

The Tipping Point: How Little Things can make a big difference.

I completed tipping point yesterday night and I must say it is a fascinating experience to read this book. It talks about the epidemics, in general the mechanism by which a normal situation turn into epidemic. It talks about how very small things add together creating such a huge difference. Malcom Gladwell describes tipping point as the magical moment when an idea, trend or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips and spreads like an epidemic. He says that there are three important laws which make an idea tip. The first one he calls as the law of few, in which he describes how important are the people who are part to spread the idea. He says that for an idea to spread it should be passed through some special kind of person in the society called connectors, mavens and salesman. These are the people with wide and influencing social contact. These are either people with large sphere of acquaintances and friends, those who are respected for their and the general people prefer following their opinions. The second law he calls as stickiness factor. The stickiness is the concept that if an idea is heard by a person then he or she should be able to remember it.. He talks about some TV show designed for kids called sesame street which tipped because its content stuck to the kids. Then finally he acknowledges the power of context where he says that the situation of the passing of the idea is also very important. He talks about the normal human attitude of attributing the characteristics as a whole without considering the situations. For ex we say a person X is honest, we mean that he is honest with friends, family etc. It's not necessary that he will be honest at work too. Then he talks about the group dynamics and the magical number 150. He talks about the fact that in any group if there are more that 150 people then they all won't be knowing each other individually. That's the capacity limit of the human brain, and he explains how this is being used in business for competitive advantage. Then finally with the help of two case studies he concludes that for an idea to tip and to become an epidemic it's required that all the small things discussed are the ones which make a major impact.
Overall the book was a very good read. Though it became a bit boring and monotonous at some instances but things were well explained. There were a few problems specially for an Indian like me to relate to the concepts which were duly explained with the help of the US TV show which is difficult to relate to any example in India. But the essence was clear. The cruise through the 259 pages of the book was really a very enriching experience. Adieu.

Posted by Prats at 12:59 AM