Think you know how trends spread?

One of the most influential books over the last few years has been Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.  Very interesting stuff.  Based on the idea that trends are launched by a very few influential people referred to in the book as mavens, The Tipping Point has had an impact on the marketing strategies of many organizations.  And now it turns out that we may have given too much credit to the theory.

In a fascinating Fast Company article, Duncan Watts, a "a network-theory scientist who recently took a sabbatical from Columbia University and is now working for Yahoo," challenges the "influentials" theory.  Gladwell’s diplomatic response?

Duncan Watts is exceedingly clever, and I’ve learned a great deal from
his research," he emailed me. "In the end, though, I suppose that I
feel the same ways about his insights as I do about Steve Levitt’s
disagreements with me over the causes of the decline in violent crime
in the 1990s. I think that all books like The Tipping Point
or articles by academics can ever do is uncover a little piece of the
bigger picture, and one day–when we put all those pieces
together–maybe we’ll have a shot at the truth.

Gotta love it!  Very interesting article.  You can check it out yourself right here.

Want some very practical applications?  Take a look at Guy Kawasaki’s blog for some great takeaways.

Is There a Tipping Point?