Sunday, September 17, 2006

Long Tail Snipits

This is one of the most thought provoking books I have read in a while. Here are a few tidbits that will make you think. (some are direct quotes while others are summarized points, but all are attributed to the author, or references within the book)

  • Broadcast is very good at bringing one show to millions of people with unmatched efficiency. But it cant do the opposite – bring a million shows to one person each. This is exactly what the Internet does so well.
  • Three main observations about the long tail:
    • the tail of availability is far longer than we realize
    • its now within reach economically
    • all those niches when aggregated can make up a significant market
  • The Long Tail is just culture unfiltered by economic scarcity.
  • 3 forces are creating the long tail:
    • Democratizing the tools of productions (eg PC) = more stuff available (lengthen the tail)
    • Cutting the cost of consumption by democratizing distribution (eg Internet) = more access to niches (fatten the tail)
    • Connecting Supply and Demand (eg Search) = Driving Business from Hits to Niches
  • The motives to create are not the same in the head as they are in the tail. One economic model does not fit all. You can think of the Long Tail starting as a traditional monetary economy at the head and ending in a non monetary economy in the tail.
  • The Long tail promises to become the crucible of creativity, a place where ideas form and grow before evolving into commercial form.
  • The traditional line between producers and consumers has blurred. Consumers are also producers.
  • We are entering an era of radical change for marketers. Faith in advertising and the institutions that pay for it is waning, while faith in individuals is on the rise. Peers trust peers. Top-down messaging is losing traction, while bottom up buzz is gaining power.
  • We are leaving the Information age and entering the recommendation age. Information gathering is no longer the issues – making smart decisions based on the information is now the trick.
  • The day when magazine, newspaper and TV editors decide what makes it to market and what doesn’t is fading. Soon everything will make it to market and the real opportunity will be sorting it all out.
  • We are seeing a shift from mass culture to massively parallel culture. Every one of us – no matter how mainstream we might think we are – actually goes super niche in some part of our lives.
  • The secret to creating a thriving long tail business can be summarized in two imperatives:
    • make everything available
    • help me find it
  • More information is better, but only when its presented in a way that helps order choice, not confuse it further.

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