The Tipping Point #2, Short Review
by Author Malcolm Gladwell 2005 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz 12/13
Sometimes a single person can serve multiple or all three roles of Connector, Maven & Salesman. The Author gives some incisive case-study examples of how to understand, measure, & take advantage of stickiness & context.
For Stickiness he talks about the Sesame Street & Blue’s Clues TV programs. The creators of those shows had some powerful intuitions about how to reach young minds, and in how to make ideas “stick” there. When they made the effort to measure the impact of their intuitions, they discovered many important cases where they were wrong.
a) Sesame Street. When the Muppets were brought in & inter-acted with the people, the kids paid more attention. Imagine what Sesame Street would have been like without Big Bird talking to Mr. Hooper? Chances are if they’d not made that courageous break with the best intuition of the time, we’d not have a Sesame Street to remember.
b) Blue’s Clues did Sesame Street one better. Sesame Street embodied the intuition of the time – which was that children would not pay attention to a single story thread for a full half hour. The Blue’s Clues creators created whole stories, and asked kids questions about them, and measured the impacts of pacing & repetition. They discovered the powerful impacts of showing the same show 5 days a week, asking questions and leaving pre-schooler-sized pauses before the off-stage audience answered them. By measuring the impact of the show, and changing subtle aspects, Blue’s Clues turned the transmit-only medium of TV into something that the target audience perceived as inter-active, and the information in the show stuck with that audience big time!
For Context, the Author looked at some well-known news stories but with a different interpretation of “cause & effect” than has been conventional wisdom.
1) He reviewed the well-known Stanford University psychological study where students -chosen specially for their psychological stability – were divided into prisoners & guards, with such powerful behavioral results that the study was ended after six days. The Author’s assertion is that we’d like to believe people behave certain ways because they’re “that sort of people” – when the actuality is – that people’s behavior is strongly influenced by context. Probably much more strongly than we are ready to accept.
[ “For Context” continued in next Premium Content (includes Broken Window theory, Renewal & Why you should read this book) ]