Tag Archives: Malcom Gladwell

How To Reach Your Tipping Point

The Tipping Point is;

“The level at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable”  Malcom Gladwell.

It’s a fascinating concept, outlined by the popular sociologist Malcom Gladwell, in his book of the same name.

It’s the point when suddenly things seem to be going right.

Nick Clegg may be on the brink of one at the moment. People have begun to see his Liberal Democrat Party as a viable alternative in the British elections and the more the press talk him up, the more momentum he gathers.

We can learn from this when trying to reach our own breakthrough; whether it’s building a new social group, business network or getting a new venture off the ground.

When you first start to make connections with people, you might represent it as a map with lots of isolated dots spread all over the place.

The more people you meet, the busier the map becomes.

Then slowly, the dots start to link up as the first inter-connections appear. After a lot of work or time or both, the map looks more like a web.

This is the basis of any network and you can use social media to speed up the process.

With all these connections in place you can begin to move to your Tipping Point. B might introduce you to D who might know F who turns out to be a potential client. Or for the working mothers amongst us, C might know Z who not only goes to the same drama class as your child but can give them a lift; result!

According to Malcom Gladwell there are some other crucial factors.

You need key individuals, Connectors, who are brilliant at bringing people and ideas together. These people are naturals at what they do. If you know one or two you are lucky; befriend them!

He also talks about information specialists or ‘mavens’ and charismatic persuaders. These types also help to move ideas and networks along to the point where they tip over into mass appeal -they go viral.

I love Gladwell’s theory because it gives a rational explanation to a phenomenon which sometimes seems like luck or karma.

For anyone with a goal to achieve the lesson is; build and build and build. There’s no use getting disheartened after ten blog posts or an initial marketing splurge.

You really do have to keep at it, until eventually, the dots start to join up.

Someone is stealing my stuff.

Someone is stealing my stuff and I’m not too pleased about it.

It’s not like they broke into my house and took my computer but just the same theft is theft isn’t it ?

Here’s what happened. I was browsing on Google to check out how my blog was doing and I came across a post I did a few weeks ago. It was on a site dedicated to dogs. Now I did mention the Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan in a post about Malcom Gladwell’s new book, but it certainly wasn’t a post about dogs and I should imagine anyone coming across it while browsing for a little light canine reading would be very disappointed.

So why is someone scraping up all the blogs which mention dogs in some random way and putting them on a website ?

To make money of course. Money out of my and other people’s words.

I sound naive don’t I? People make money out of any tiny niche going. It’s the way of the world. I do know this. I know this because I have seen people selling courses on how to make a pitch at a networking event which exists to try to help people meet other people who might know people who might buy their stuff.

But selling ads round a load of dog blogs which in my case isn’t even a dog blog ? Come on.

The wise thinkers of the internet say we need to let go of our intellectual property. We should have the confidence to put our ideas out there. Post up your writing, your music, your business ideas all for free and then reap the rewards …er they always lose me when it comes to where we get the rewards from. Malcom Gladwell did a brilliant review of Chris Anderson’s book Free, the Future of a Radical Price in the New Yorker taking down a lot of this argument.

They argue that ‘Information wants to be free’. But does that mean free to be plagiarised or sold on as something else ?

Getting exposure for your ideas is seen as the holy grail, so if  dog loving eyeballs rest on my blog shouldn’t I perhaps be grateful ?

Well I love it when my blog comes up in directories and search engines just as much as you do but I’m not yet so much of a media tart that I want my stuff out there at any cost and what’s more the people searching for relevant content are being short-changed.

To that end I promise to look at the way I tag my posts to check they are relevant.

How to be extraordinary (if you have the time.)

When I first read about Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hours I didn’t expect to be living some of them myself, minute by tortured minute.

I am having a bit of a Gladwell moment. His name is never far from my lips, sometimes bracketed by expletives, as I scrape the snow from my windscreen on the way to another of my daughter’s 6am training sessions.

For those of you not familiar with his work Malcom Gladwell has made a name for himself explaining the ordinary in an extraordinary way. In ‘Blink’ he looked at the social science of first impressions, in ‘The Tipping Point’ he documented the way ideas can go viral and in ‘Outliers’ we meet the concept of the 10,000 hours.

Basically 10,000 hours is what it takes to make someone exceptional at what they do as opposed to just talented. You can apply it to the Beatles who played relentlessly in their early years or to Bill Gates and the hours he spent programming. There are other fascinating ideas in the book but you must read those for yourself.

What interests me, is that I have a daughter, a county level swimmer, who trains 4-5 times a week and I am the one who takes her. Together we clock up hours at the pool and several more preparing to go. But I worked out that on the basis of Gladwell’s thesis my girl would have to keep this up for another ten years and would still have only have got 2,000 hours on the clock, by which time she would be 20.

This rather dispiriting calculation  leads me to the conclusion that ;

  1. Said daughter just doesn’t have what it takes to be the next Rebecca Adlington.
  2. I need to get up at 5.30am some more…a lot more.

But wait. Is this what we want ? Am I swim mom ? or just a rather tired parent trying to do her best by a child who has turned out to be quite good at something ? Just because a genius journalist/social scientist has told me why people excel above all others doesn’t mean we have to, does it ?

I think my conflicted position may be explained by British attitudes to failure (it’s not really that bad is it ?) but I know that won’t play well with the Association of British Swimmers. So to them, I do promise to try harder.

Meanwhile I am looking forward to Malcom Gladwell’s book of collected essays, in particular the one about Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan and yes since you ask, I do have a dog,no pressure then.