Book Cover

 

This week we re-read Chapter 3 of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. One of the core themes in this chapter is the concept of ego depletion.  Ego depletion is a theory that self-control, as a form of system 2 thinking, draws from a finite pool of mental resources. When the pool is low, so is self-control. I did some research on the topic and the evidence is mixed whether there is an ego depletion impact. Regardless, from the point of view of Chapter 3 the idea is that heavy mental and physical loads on a person spread their ability to think and make decisions thin is not a stretch (and we should not expend a significant cognitive load on the topic). Whether the triggering mechanism is ego depletion or something else is not as important as the observable impact – when people are under mental stress they don’t always make the most thoughtful decisions.    (more…)

Tipping Point

Today we conclude the re-read portion our tour through Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point by tackling both the conclusion and the afterword. The Tipping Point is a theory that viral change—epidemics, in Gladwell’s word—can be caused and shaped by few actions and people. The Law of the Few tells us that connectors, mavens and salespeople can affect whether or not a concept, idea or movement moves across the tipping point and becomes an epidemic.

Conclusion: (more…)

Tipping Point

Chapter 7 of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (remember to stop borrowing your best friend’s copy and buy a copy of the book for yourself!), is another case study. This time we explore the ideas of how tipping points happen by considering teen suicides and smoking. 

Let’s return to the subtitle of The Tipping Point, How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. In chapter 7 Gladwell uses the examples of teen suicide in Micronesia and teen smoking in the United States. The central idea in both examples is the role of permission-givers.  Permission-givers make a concept cool or interesting to a specific group of people through their actions. In the world of 2019, permission-givers leverage a wide range of social media platforms that were not as widespread when Gladwell wrote the book. The proliferation of social media has made the concept of permission-giving even more important to understand. In chapter 2, The Law of the Few, Gladwell described the role of the salesperson; a permission-giver is a specialized form of the salesperson. The salesperson/permission giver provides the connections to the people that can be most impacted by an idea which pushes an idea or activity over the tipping point. Permission is not a general invitation broadcast indiscriminately put a much more targeted communication to, in the case of suicide and smoking, to those that are most vulnerable. (more…)

Tipping Point

In Chapter Five of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (remember to stop borrowing your best friend’s copy and buy a copy of the book for yourself!), Gladwell uses the story of how the book Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood found its way over the tipping point as an example of the power of context.  Ya-Ya had a long glide path to a being a best seller, but once it started being read by groups such as book clubs or just mothers and daughters sales skyrocketed. The book evoked solidarity and linkages between groups of women. Gladwell links the explosion in sales to groups acting as super connectors.

In Chapter 2, The Law of the Few, Gladwell described how a connector could take an idea and spread it to many people.  Super connectors connect groups. Ya-Ya was the type of book that was read by groups (book clubs in this case) which made the book significantly stickier. Groups are powerful forces that act on how humans behave and think. Groups have social norms and apply pressure to hold members to the norms the group feels are important. The number of people in a group can impact how fast an idea moves is absorbed into the larger community.

(more…)

Tipping Point

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Re-read Week 4 – Chapter 3: The Stickiness Factor

Chapter Three of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point is a reminder of why this book continues to be important and useful. The density of ideas in this chapter is amazing. Stop borrowing your best friends copy and buy a copy of the book for yourself!  

Chapter Two, The Law of the Few, describes the role of people in passing messages along.  Chapter Three tackles stickiness. Stickiness is the attribute that determines whether a message is heard and internalized. Messages that are heard and internalized stand a chance to be acted upon. In this chapter, Gladwell uses Sesame Street and Blues Clues as the vehicle to discuss how messages can be packaged to make them sticky.   (more…)

Tipping Point

This week we continue our re-read of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. In chapter two, Gladwell dives into the law of the few.  There are three types of people that are important to pushing an idea up to and over a tipping point: connectors, mavens, and salespeople.  All three are required. Remember to dust off your copy or buy a new copy and read along!

People are both the mechanism and the target for anyone trying either to understand why an idea crosses the tipping point or to push an idea across a tipping point.  Knowing who to influence or connect spells the difference between success and failure. Word-of-mouth is an extremely powerful effect, but just passing the information along one person at a time is not sufficient for getting an idea over the tipping point. People pass on all kinds of information all the time but only in rare instances does that exchange cause the idea to go viral. Gladwell theorizes that social epidemics happen because of the involvement of three types of people each with particular of social talents. (more…)

Direct Playback

Subscribe: Apple Podcast
Check out the podcast on Google Play Music

Listen on Spotify!

SPaMCAST 531 features our essay on Balancing Control and Self-Organization to Avoid Heat Death.  Control and self-organization represent a classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears problem. We discuss whether there is a solution. Interested in more on this topic?  Other blog entries include:

Balancing Control and Self-Organization to Avoid Heat Deathhttps://bit.ly/2UnzfGu  

Balancing of Autonomy with Alignmenthttps://bit.ly/2Sg1xFy  

VUCA, Heat Death and Gray Goohttps://bit.ly/2RhlGq8

In the second spot this week we hear from Jon M Quigley who brings his Alpha and Omega of Product Development to the cast.  Jon discusses the impact of cognitive biases on product development. Fighting biases is an important role for product owners and developers alike. The fight is rarely easy.

Re-Read Saturday News
This week we begin our re-read of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. We are re-reading this book because it is important for any person involved in leading or participating in change (this is all of us).  Dust off your copy or buy a new copy.

Current entry:

Week 1 – Plans and Introductionhttps://bit.ly/2S8PPwc

Next SPaMCAST
SPaMCAST 532 will feature our interview with Julia Wester.  Julia returns to the cast to discuss her passion for the topic of spectrum thinking.  Rarely is using binary thinking the most effective path; however, it is rare to use spectrum thinking to address problems. Julia provides a path to more effective decision making.