Chasing the Tail

I like this posting at Chris Anderson’s site. It’s some slides. They are good, but I want to pile-on a bit.

These slides all follow the same pattern, exemplified by this first one on products. They are the rows in a three column table.

The still bother’s me that Chris’s curve doesn’t particularly look like a power-law, it doesn’t cling to the axis. Gives the viewer a misleading impression about the middle class, it rarely captures as much of the energy in these these systems than it really does. It remindes me of the way politicians always pander to the middle-class. People seem to like to think they are in that class.

These slides all follow the same pattern, exemplified by this first one on products. They are the rows in a three column table. Here are the rows in Chris’ table.

Elite Middle Tail
Content Hits Existing Goods that haven’t reached their full potential market New goods, made possible by new distribution and markets
Incentives $$$ Reputation (leading to $) Expression
Status Pros Marketing/moonlighting Amateurs
IP Protection Copyright No Copyright Creative Commons

If we were talking about another power-law distribution we would find very different entries in the three columns. Study the distribution of wealth and you get a row with entries like: upper-class, middle-class, and the poor. Chris decided early to avoid some of these tar pits. Still, he as touched the tar baby. It will be interesting to see what he does with the issue of globalization.

I thought it would be fun to add more rows.

Elite Middle Tail
Wealth Upperclass Middle Class Poor
Nations G-7 Third World
Weather Hurricanes/Tornados Storms Zephyrs
Animals Birds, Reptiles, Mammals Insects Bacteria, Viruses
Settlements Cities Suburbs Towns, Villages, Rural
Vocabulary ? ? ?
Baby Names ? ? ?
Matter Solid Liquid Gas & Vacum
Firms Hubs, Markets, Platforms Classic Firms Small Business
Labor Politics? Capital Unions Worker

Tail Light Chasing, Installed Base Migration Industry Consortium Bottom Up
Religion world religion Denominations nondenominational, and private faith

These tables could use some more columns. Chris, for example, is interested in how shifting distribution channels are changing how the finite available attention is distibuted across the content. I’m interested in how businesses emerge that act like drift net fisherman raking the ocean of small players for value; and in turn how that effects the ecology. I suspect we are all interested in how the elite manage, capture, and horde their power.

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