October 24, 2006

The Tipping Point: Part One

The Tipping Point, written by Malcom Gladwell, discusses how the effects of a seemingly "small" thing can be the tipping point that turns a virus into an epidemic, for things both good and bad. You may have heard of the 'broken windows' theory. Studies found that crime rates go up drastically in neighborhoods where there are broken windows in houses and buildings. So, instead of hiring more policeman, some cities have simply been replacing windows in run-down areas to tremendous success. (Note: Some people use the 'broken windows' theory to say that people are not responsible for their actions since their actions are only a result of their environment...that's not where I'm going with this.) New York City had a crime problem on the subway. Some guy suggested repainting all of the trains and repainting the cars the second they were graffiti vandalized. The crime rates plummeted. A particular STD in the city of Philadelphia spread rapidly in a short period of time. It turned out that a half-dozen homosexual men were by and large the culprits. AirWalks, a shoe for skateboarders became wildy popular overnight, and can be attributed to a few skateboarders in California. The big idea is that it's the little ideas that can go a long way. These ideas have captivated marketers, trying to determine how they can 'tip' their product. But, how 'bout we try discussing how we can do something little that can stop, start or cause something big. Let's go.