After the big sports blast earlier tonight, I wanted to put up something a bit more relevant to what I’m spending my time on these days.
A few months ago, I read The Tipping Point, I think by Malcom McDowell? It was a pretty interesting read. The story that’s stuck with me the most is the example of how the New York subway system was cleaned up, at least in part, by the operators refusing to accept all the little crimes that would take place each day throughout the system – things like fare-jumping and graffiti. I’m a little fuzzier on things like the interaction between Mavens and Salesmen, but that’s nothing a quick refresher read won’t fix. The ways in which Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues have been analyzed are also things I continue to think about – particularly in analyzing web site effectiveness.
I mention that book now because I’ve recently started reading The Long Tail, by Wired editor Chris Anderson. There’s a series of thoughts I’ve been having recently, whose direction I’m still unsure of, that touch on this phenomenon so I figured I should actually read the full book. I vaguely remember the Wired article from 2004 that started the whole thing, but from the first chapter or two of the book it seems that there’s a lot more data analysis than I remember. The terrain I seem to be traversing also includes things like open source economics and the ways in which students learn. I have a feeling that I’ll eventually have to return to Freakonomics, and possibly Edward Tufte, before things have wrapped themselves up.
My brother-in-law and I occasionally have wide-ranging discussions on topics like this – so he’ll probably be consulted more than a few times as well.