Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tipping the Long Black Tailed Swan

Here is an amusing graphic posted over at Paul Kredrosky's blog, which he credits to some people over at Wired as representing credibility versus time for some book-driven memes of recent note.

stat

The Black Swan is currently enjoying a spike of notoriety, as we live through the sub-prime crisis, unpredictable in both its occurrence and impact. But once we recover, perhaps slowly, the dreaded low-probability high-impact event will recede from popular memory, as predicted by its author Taleb. But for the moment he is living out his dream as a public intellectual.

I would suggest that the curves for the Long Tail and the Tipping Point be exchanged, since I think the former has persisted longer in the common perception as the thesis is somewhat more compelling. The Tipping Point is more a clever retelling or repackaging of fad phenomena, while the Long Tail captures more of the current Zeitgeist. In short, Malcolm Gladwell had to write another book before Chris Anderson did. Both memes are now in decline, the Tipping Point from natural attention attrition while the Long Tail has been dealt several heavy body blows based on observed data. But more about that in another post.

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