AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The long tail - a story worth reading

You need to read this story. Really. To fully understand the tremendous impact the Internet has. On music, on books, on anything. To understand the power of comments and recommendations. To understand the limitations of the current world. To get an understanding of the beginning revolution that we are facing. This revolution that is just beginning and came into being through the Internet. But also, that through the power of sharing, something can be created that is better than what any individual can do alone.

The Long Tail - I read the story first in Wired Magazine:

" In 1988, a British mountain climber named Joe Simpson wrote a book called Touching the Void, a harrowing account of near death in the Peruvian Andes. It got good reviews but, only a modest success, it was soon forgotten. Then, a decade later, a strange thing happened. Jon Krakauer wrote Into Thin Air, another book about a mountain-climbing tragedy, which became a publishing sensation. Suddenly Touching the Void started to sell again.
Random House rushed out a new edition to keep up with demand. Booksellers began to promote it next to their Into Thin Air displays, and sales rose further. A revised paperback edition, which came out in January, spent 14 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. That same month, IFC Films released a docudrama of the story to critical acclaim. Now Touching the Void outsells Into Thin Air more than two to one.

What happened? In short, recommendations. The online bookseller's software noted patterns in buying behavior and suggested that readers who liked Into Thin Air would also like Touching the Void. People took the suggestion, agreed wholeheartedly, wrote rhapsodic reviews. More sales, more algorithm-fueled recommendations, and the positive feedback loop kicked in."
(Kim - this is not an Amazon Story, okay!!)

Now, The Long Tail is out as a manifest in ChangeThis. It tells the story how an online retailer, such as Amazon, Rhapsody, Netflix and others can hold so many more documents, books, movies and music compared to traditional retailers and, the amazingly, that people don't only buy music that they know, but they get carried away into areas they would never experience without recommendations.

And it shows that the Pareto rule, this famous 80/20 rule (80% of your business is derived from 20% of your customers) might not necessarily be valid anymore. It asks the question: "What percentage of the top 10,000 titles in any one online media store (Netflix, Amazon etc.) will rent or sell at least once a months?" Most people guess 20%, - due to the Pareto Thinking. but this is wrong - The answer here is 99%!!!! "There is a demand for nearly every one of those 10,000 tracks."

How, will you ask? Recommendations, that bring you from the top of the chart (say Britney Spears down the tail to similar genres). Beautiful

I wrote about ChangeThis here and here before and I love the project. So log in and read the other manifests to see the speed of change and get your hands on really good knowledge.


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