Synopsis of “The Tipping Point”

The Tipping Point

Dear Friends, Business Associates and Colleagues, this fortnightly book synopsis is talking about science of how & why some things get viral while others don’t? Could you make a guess which book I am talking about? The book that I present to you was written by Malcom Gladwell and the name of book is The Tipping Point. This book was first published about 20 years back in the year 2000.

Book Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell is a study of quite a few things which went viral, and few things that did not, and tries to find out what are the things that matter and then decipher the leanings into 3 simple steps.

1. Law of the few:- Malcom Gladwell says that answer is that one of the exceptional people found about a new/trend/event /product & through their social connections, energy enthusiasm spread the information which spreads like a viral. Epidemic Tips because of extraordinary efforts of Few Select Carriers (people).

He further classified these people as

  • Connectors: – While explaining connectors Gladwell talks about an experiment through which he finds out that in a town that he studied, it is a small number of people who are linked to everyone else in the world through those special few and goes ahead to call them as connectors- people with a special gift for bringing people together. Connectors are the Glue that connects people and spreads the message.
  • Maven: – It means the one who accumulates knowledge. Mavens are not passive collectors of information but they like to be helpers in the market place. They are the ones who wants to solve other people’s problems. (it is his emotional need). Difference between Connectors & Mavens is that… A connector may tell 10 people where to stay in Bangalore & 5 of them may take his advice. A Maven might tell 5 people as to where to stay in Bangalore but make a case for hotel so emphatically that all of them would take his advice. Mavens are data banks – they provide the message.
  • Salesmen: – These set of people with required skills sets to persuade us when we are unconvinced what we are hearing. Salesmen are excellent & convincing answers to objections raised by potential clients. Salesmen are people with the skills to persuade us when we are convinced what are hearing & they are critical to tipping word of mouth epidemics.

2. The Stickiness Factor: – Means that a message makes an Impact, you cannot get it out of your head. It Sticks in your memory. The stickiness factor says that there are Specific ways of making a Contagious Message Memorable, there are simple Changes in Presentation & Structuring of Information that can make a big difference in how much of an impact it makes. Things that help in the stickiness factor are…

More people are engaged in watching something more memorable & meaningful it becomes.

Idea of repetition makes it stick.

We all want to believe that the key to making an impact on someone lies with the inherent quality of the ideas we present but instead it lies with the presentation of their ideas.

There is a simple way to package information that under the right circumstances can make it irresistible. All you have to do is find it.
Stickiness factor suggests in order to be capable of sparking an epidemic, ideas have to be memorable & move us to action.

3. The Power of Context: – Spread of Epidemic is Influenced by the Situation – by Circumstances and Conditions and particulars of Environment in which they Operate. Even the smallest & subtlest and most unexpected of factors can affect the way we act. Context is also of 2 types…

Epidemics are sensitive to the conditions or circumstances of the time & place they occur. Gladwell goes on to explain this concept by taking an example of a study done in New York popularly termed as “broken window theory”. Broken Window Theory suggests that if a window is broken & left unattended / unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares & no one is in charge & soon you will see more broken windows and sense of anarchy will spread. An epidemic can be tipped or reversed by tinkering with smallest details of the immediate environment. In this case Power of Context is an environmental text. It says you don’t have to solve / attend to big ticket items. You can tip an epidemic by understanding & solving simple & straight forward actions. Power of context suggests that what we think of as inner states preferences & emotions are actually result seemingly inconsequential personal influences of our outer environment.

Power of Context is a testimony to the power that group plays in social epidemic. Once we are part of a group, we are all susceptible to peer pressure & social norms and any number of other kinds of influence that can play a critical role in sweeping us up in the beginnings of an epidemic. In smaller groups people are lot closer. They are knit together which is very important if you want to be effective & successful at community life. What is important for epidemic to spread is the ties of one person to many groups, which is small but critical distinction. This close knot groups have the power to magnify the epidemic potential of a message or an idea.

Will explain the law of few with an example from my life. There was a big product launch and to make that launch successful we used the law of few. To make the product launch successful what we did was identified the distributor sales engineers as connectors who would identify the places where this product could be applied. (since they had the reach due to daily contact with multiple customers) Second were application engineers who were given the task to prove the product and tell customer why they need to use this new product. Third were the company sales engineers who were assigned the task of converting the successful trials into orders by removing the objections of the customer to switch. Each one of the persons were suitably rewarded / incentive for the role that they played. Needless to say, that the campaign was one of the most successful launches in the history of the company.

I am sure you will to connect the study results of the book to your life to see what things become a roaring success while which did not. Would love to hear your feedback about the book synopsis and connections that you can draw to things from your life.

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