Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yet another tribute to Good Old Gladwell.

Hey there, Blogee. Long time, no see. (Wow, way to start off with a rhyme. Lame.)

One thing you should know about me is that I go through phases. Looks like the obsessive blogging phase is over...but I'll still write periodically, don't worry. As if you were worried.

If you've been reading this for...well, since I started writing, you know that I am a fan of a certain Malcolm Gladwell. I mean, I don't adore and cherish his work as much as Sara Bareilles, but he's up there on the list, right around Panda Express and jumping in puddles. Anyway, I'm reading his book The Tipping Point and the other day, I had this epiphany (I know, dangerous...get ready, kids): why not make the blog two social experiments in one?!? I know, it's crazy, we can't, it's impossible...ridiculous, what was I thinking? No, we're gonna try it. You and I. (There's a handful of good songs called "You and I," by various artists including Ingrid Michaelson and Michael Buble. Just throwin' that out there.) Let me explain.

The Tipping Point is all about the power of small things. Shakespeare says "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women are simply players." (Player=actor in this context, not "a guy who is sustaining supposedly exclusive relationships with multiple girls simultaneously." Just to clarify for the less mature minds.) This book makes me realize that not only is the world a stage, but the world really is just one big market, and all the men and women are buyers, sellers, and advertisers...without even knowing it. It's not as catchy, but it works. we are all separated into categories based on our relationships and intellect. I'm only a quarter of the way through it, so right now I'm learning about the "strength of weak ties." In order to keep from writing a novel right here about the actual novel I'm reading--yes, I'm that fascinated--I'll break this into three parts, and have you actually categorize yourself in the "world market" based on some descriptions.

The Connector

If you're a Connector you are basically the popular one. Not Mean-Girls-Popular, when everyone knows you because everyone hates you, but because you are genuinely friendly to everyone, and you make an effort to stay in touch with everyone you know. The true Connector is the person who sends birthday cards to coworkers they met at just one business meeting, the person who writes you down in his or her address book after waiting in line with you at Starbucks. These are the people who ask you to have lunch when they're in town, even though you never really knew each other. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the "strength of weak ties."
The Connector in the "world market" uses these weak ties to spread the word about something--anything--to anyone and everyone.
(Side note: Connectors are the reason Paul Revere's ride was a success. He knew enough Connectors in towns all across the colonies so that all he had to do was pound on a few doors, knowing that those people would know how to spread the news that the British were coming!!)


Mavens are the ones who KNOW. The Connectors spread the word, but the Mavens know the word, the word's etymology, every definition of the word, and every phrase that the word is a part of. We all know a Maven or two; they're the ones who you confront about big purchases and undertakings, like which laptop to buy or which hotel to book for three nights. A Maven will compare prices, list alternatives, and recommend what you need based on who you are. As Malcolm Gladwell puts it, Mavens are more than just experts. Not only do they know all there is to know, but they share what they know purely because they want you to know too. Without Mavens, the Connectors would be sending a bunch of empty envelopes to everyone on the planet. (Figuratively, of course. Nowadays, we send emails.)


The last category is made up of Salespeople. So far, the Mavens have taken all the information needed, and the Connectors have sent all the information to those who need it. Now the Salespeople are going to convince those who need the information of how badly they need it. (Realize that I say "information," and not "products." This "world market" is made of a lot more than "stuff." The world market is everything we come into contact with every day, just by being human.) The Salesperson is charming, intelligent, and open to others. People trust Salespeople to tell them what they need...although at this point, we know that it's the Mavens that know about it and it's the Connectors that know who needs it. At this point, the Salesperson just ties all that work into a neat little package, spray-paints it with some shiny gloss and a big personality, and says, "Please sign here." Without Salespeople, the hard work of the Mavens and Connectors would go completely to waste. No one would even know what they were looking for if a Salesperson didn't approach them and say, "I have just the thing," and that Salesperson knows it's "just the thing" because they heard it from the Maven and the Connector. It's a beautiful cycle, and it's how our world functions.

Fascinating, isn't it? Maybe I'm just a dork, but that's a pretty incredible cycle of near-coincidences.

So, in addition to the previous challenge (inspired by Gladwell's Blink) why don't we say...everyone who reads this should send the link to two or three other people, depending on whether or not they fit under a category of either Connector, Maven, or Salesperson. We're testing the power of the word-of-mouth, guys, not advertising my blog. Although that is a nice little perk. (Did you know "perk" is short for "perquisite?" I didn't until just now.) Not everyone fits into a category, and that's okay. Don't start overdosing on Tylenol to take away the pain of not being on this side of the "world market." I know my ramblings have a huge impact on your self-image. Try not to take it too personally. (Is my sarcasm translating onto the screen?)

So, just to clarify: if you're a Maven, send this to a Connector and a Salesperson. If you're a Connector, send this to a Maven and a Salesperson. Got it? Okay. If this works, we can change the world. Or at least be guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

On your marks...

...get set...


No comments:

Post a Comment