Tuesday, 29 January 2008

That Explains So Much

Via Boing Boing comes an article in Fast Company that attempts to refute Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. I've sort of avoided the Tipping Point as it just seems like one of those books that has one central, easily expressed, marketable idea that it then expounds for 300 pages, so I'm not entirely sure how this article succeeds. What did strike me, however, was the study looking at how pop hits happen:
Nor did there seem to be any compelling correlation between merit and success. In fact, Watts explains, only about half of a song's success seemed to be due to merit. "In general, the 'best' songs never do very badly, and the 'worst' songs never do extremely well, but almost any other result is possible," he says. Why? Because the first band to snag a few thumbs-ups in the social world tended overwhelmingly to get many more. Yet who received those crucial first votes seemed to be mostly a matter of luck.

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