Successful Developments: Yours & Mine

Monday, August 4, 2008

Review: Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point"


I bought Malcolm Gladwell's book "The Tipping Point - How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference" from late last year. I loved it! I thought I have a good grasp at interpreting trends, but Gladwell gave me deeper insight into trends as if seen through his eyes.

Gladwell caught me off-guard when he discussed the racial tipping point that affects the real estate market of a neighborhood. But that was not the most surprising. What surprised me the most was how low a percentage of new property owners could influence the change from a sellers market to a buyers market.

There were many times when he seemed to veer off his subject and I started wondering where he was going with the point of the story. Then he would pull it all together and I could see exactly why he said something the way he said it.

Gladwell points out common traits in typical public interest/popularity and how that relates to sales and marketing.

In each example, he explains the patterns that show the slow beginnings, the steeper climb, to the sharp growth in popularity to the hesitation at the top, then the crash and (except for a few examples) a sudden end of all growth.

His intention is to provide enough information to duplicate or create a path towards a tipping point in your business. And, with the proper actions, manipulate how long your business is able to remain at the top of the sales chart.

I was surprised that Gladwell used stories about the popular children's show Sesame Street in his examples. But, once I read his in-depth, behind-the-scenes stories, I realized how complex and how much innovative thought went into producing that very successful television show.

Now, I find myself paying closer attention to eye, face, and body position and movement when I discuss business (and personal) matters. And, I am noticing the signals I (un-intentionality) send to others.

Gladwell is able to describe and chart the same patterns of tipping points in every example he gave. He investigates the how, why, where, and when of his research. Then he presents it to his readers in easy to digest pieces.

His description of Connectors, Mavens, and Salespeople is clear and fascinating. It is easy to visualize how the traits of connectors, mavens, and salespeople live in each of us.

One of the most interesting viewpoints Gladwell shared, was that there are only three elements that create change. The first element is "The Law of the Few." You'll have to read his book to find out Gladwell's other two agents of change.

By the way: It was fun taking Gladwell's Manhattan Phone Book Test. I scored eighty-seven points the first time around. After thinking about it, I believe I could add another ten to thirty surnames to my known contacts list.

I strongly recommend you read and then use Gladwell's information to create your own (series) of tipping points for your business' growth.

And while you're at it, get involved in replacing broken windows, painting walls and cleaning up areas in need. (Read the book and you'll understand.)

Little things can make a huge difference when properly executed/initiated.

Until next time.

Girard Frank Bolton, III.
The Developers Advocate

p.s. - I posted the majority of the above article at this evening. It should be visible on their web site within forty-eight hours. - gfb3

The Tipping Point - How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

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