Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Tipping Point - Malcom Gladwell

Last month, in an educational program, we were running a simulation of a sales call. My team, consists of 5 people from 5 different nationalities( Korea, Taiwan,Thailand and Indonesia), were seemingly ahead of the rest of the groups. After converting each of the so called leaders there were roars of success and high fives. The early stages were very difficult and halfway through the task seems to be easy and the conversion happened at a faster pace. The professor , peeped in to check our progress, muttered 'tipping point'; and vanished. Next day, we were given this book for being the best among the rest.

Not that I haven't heard of this book earlier. I am not a great reader of management ( or similar genre) books. Few of my collegues ( Tobby , especially) was very vocal on this book. That prompted me to read this after a heavy dose of Mario Vargas Llosa.

Malcolm Gladwell says that in the acceptance and implementation of every idea, product, decease or service, the graph follow the 'early adopters, majority and laggards curve. However, during the phase of its journey comes a stage where the 'conversion' become an avalanche ( a word of mouth epidemic). This point, where the rate of conversion become the fastest, he calls 'the tipping point'. Citing numerous examples from Hush Puppies to the Aids Epidemic, he explains his theory in detail in this book.

Connectors are those with innumerable contacts. They are sociable and can recall many names at any instance. They are extraordinarily good at making friends and acquaintances. Mavens are those with lot of information and with a mind set to help others. He reach out to others to solve their problems. Sales men are capable of negotiating and getting what they wanted. They manage to get people agree with them.

There are three rules of the tipping point : the law of the few, the stickiness Factor and the Power of context , which explains us the cause of the epidemic. Law of the few says that there are exceptional people who are capable of starting the epidemics. He catagorises them into three : The connectors , the Mavens and the Sales Man.

It is not only important to have the right people as your front end guys ( the connectors, mavens etc). The idea has to stick , it has to be compelling and should have value. The lessons of stickiness is the same. There are simple way of packaging information that, under the right circumstances , can make it irresistible.

However, the whole thing has to be looked at with "the power of content". The human behaviour is to a considerable extent influenced by the environment . The epidemics are" sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the time and place".

The concept is very good, so was the delivery. However, the book is very verbose, with too many examples, some of them wasn't connected that greatly with the subject. Probably a bit too long. Otherwise, this has been an interesting reading.
The Tipping Point ( 2000)

Malcolm Gladwell


279 Pages
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