- Name:Abiodun Obisesan
- Address:Helsinki Finland
- Email: OMOBUKOLA@GMAIL.COM
In his bestselling book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell posited that contagious of expansion of ideas or systemic changes doesn’t rely upon thousands or millions of people all rising up of one accord to create the change. There are societal individuals who possess phenomenon or extreme social skills or habits. They are not like you and I. You can think of them of as epicenter or the source of contagion itself. These are the kind of people who engineer a change.
Around 1836, a beggar approached P.T. Barnum in the street. Instead of giving the beggar money, P.T. Barnum decided to employ him. Taking him to his museum, he gave him five bricks and told him to make a slow circuit of several blocks. At certain point he was to lay down a brick on the sidewalk, always keeping one brick in hand. On the return journey he was to replace each brick on the street with one he held. Meanwhile he was to remain serious of countenance and to answer to question.
After the fourth day, crowds swarmed around the man debating endlessly what he was doing. Every time the man entered the museum, he was followed by people who had to pay before entering the museum. Once inside the museum, they were distracted by the museum collection and stayed inside (culled from 48 Laws of Power).
The key strategy here is that, the museum needed to attract people who were willing to buy entrance ticket. P.T. Barnum understood that he needed to create a contagion in order to attract the market he desperately coveted. In market places, “to create a crowd you have to do something different and odd. Any kind of curiosity will serve the purpose, for crowds are magnetically attracted by the unusual and inexplicable. And once you have their attention, never let it go” (Robert Green)
Malcolm Gladwell identified three personalities central to create contagion. They are connectors, mavens and salesmen. Connectors are the kind of people who seem to know everyone. If the information pops up in the society, it first comes in contact with connectors. If the information happens to engage the connector interest, they will distribute in such a manner until it tips. Mavens on the other hand are the information specialists. They know everything about a certain topic and are willing to share. Salesmen are the quintessential persuaders who can get people to make decisions and take actions that they wouldn’t take if left to themselves.
These three key personalities possess timeless principles. Just like in epidemics, they have transported businesses and organizations from initial velocity to a speed of light.