THE TIP POINT where small things can make a big difference.
By MALCOLM GLADWELL
This book is about infectious how an idea, product, book, song, movie or phone can suddenly become the object you have. What makes one product succeed while another fails? The point at which a commodity becomes a daily success is the “tipping point”. When you reach the tipping point, there is no stopping the flood.
It is like the flu virus until a certain point the flu can be contained. Some people get over it as others come down with it. That is the point of balance. But if there is a slight increase in the number that catches the flu, the tipping point is reached and nothing stops the pollution until it has burned out.
The pivot point is a non-fiction book on how to achieve this tipping point. What are the factors that cause a product to reach the tipping point while a similar product will fail?
For something to reach a tipping point it requires some special people: Stik, Mavens and salespeople. Connectors are people with a special gift for bringing people together – connecting them. Stitches know many people, but it is important that they are not all within the same circle. For example, if they are all football players, this is not a matter of how many footballers they know. A connoisseur knows different groups of people, business people, sportsmen, actors, newspaper people, farmers, students, doctors; without the wider spread, the connection will fail.
Mavens are the second type of essential people in creating word-of-mouth epidemics. A stomach is a person who collects data and then tells people about it. They are obsessed with their particular knowledge, but more than that, they want to help everyone by sharing what they know. It could be how to save 20 cents on a can of dog food, or which toothpaste actually makes your teeth white. They go into detail, they keep records, notes and prices. They know how to get cheap seats from the airlines or which cars use the least fuel, and then they all tell you what they have discovered. The mavens want to help because they like to feel involved, they want to share what they have discovered. The mavens give the message.
The third type of person needed for word of mouth epidemics is the seller. It is the sales people who persuade us when we do not convince what we are listening to. It is the seller who can find a spin that will convince the skeptic. These special sellers are empathetic, kind, helpful and above all compelling. It is the salespeople who build the peer pressure so that everyone falls into line.
Gladwell discusses the various factors that lead to the tipping point. He analyzes them in detail with many examples, most notably the night trip to Paul Revere, which reached a successful tipping point, while another night rider (Dawes) failed to wake the locals and has since disappeared from history. Why did Paul Revere succeed? He was a connector: he was a fisherman, a hunter, a card player, a theater lover, a successful businessman and a Freemason member, along with other social clubs. He knew people.
Gladwell uses examples of crime statistics that suddenly dropped, syphilis cases that emerged alarmingly, and the overnight success rate Cuddle puppy shoes when they were on the verge of extinction. I have analyzed the success of Sesame Street, reducing crime in the New York subway and smoking; they all reached a “tipping point”.
“The world – much as we want it – doesn’t match our intuition. This is the second lesson in the tipping point. Those who succeed in creating social epidemics don’t just do what they think is right. They deliberately test their intuitions … To draw attention to social epidemics, we must first understand that human communication has its own set of very unusual and counterintuitive rules. “
All in all, it provides interesting reading with lots of examples and characters. It is not a boring book, on the contrary, it is easy to read with useful information, especially if you are trying to promote something.
And that could be all of us.