Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Tipping Point

OK. Confession: I didn’t actually read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. My wife and I listened to it as we drove up to Seattle and back … with the characters from Cars playing on the DVD player for the kids in the back. I need a hard copy of this book because I couldn’t take notes on my CD. I found it a fascinating study, however, on how cultural phenomena become, well, phenomenal.

I wish I could unpack it all, but it had great insight, particularly on different kinds of people and how they relate to social phenomena. There are people who are passionate about a topic – even as a hobby – that, while they may seem obnoxious, serve as great resources for making those products better. For example (I think I read this in a different book), somebody sends Google emails with a number on it. Nothing else. The folks at Google discovered it was when the word count on their homepage is getting too high. They want to keep things simple so they appreciate the emails to keep them in check. These folks are called Mavens, I believe.

Others are connectors. They may not have the deep knowledge, but they have social networks that get the right people together to make a movement happen.

There’s one more. I can’t remember what it is, but it is those who are influential. It might even be ‘influencers.’ These are the people that move people to doing something. The cool kids in some ways.

Jotting these notes down makes me want to really get a hard copy and mark it up because it has some good insights for leadership. Sometimes, when identifying leaders, I think in singular categories. It could be any one of Gladwell’s categories at a given time, but this book is really a challenge to see the value in the myriad of different people and their giftings and contributions. Sounds almost biblical (see 1 Corinthians 12 or Romans 12).

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