The Tipping Point discusses why certain ideas, products and behaviors spread like epidemics and what we can do to consciously trigger and have control over such epidemics.
Key idea 1 of 10
Ideas spread like epidemics.
The spread of ideas, products and behaviors can be compared to the spread of a viral infection: for years, only a few people are affected (or infected), but then, within a short period of time, it becomes an epidemic.
Take the suede shoes made by Hush Puppies, which remained mere shelf-warmers until the mid‑1990s when suddenly they became a must‑have. Within just one year, sales figures jumped from 30,000 to 430,000 pairs; the next year, around two million pairs of Hush Puppies were sold.
The company itself had nothing to do with the epidemic. It all started when a couple of hipsters in Manhattan started wearing the shoes, which “infected” others with the idea and set off a trend.
Social epidemics share several of the same recurring characteristics as viral infections.
For example, subtle external changes can often strongly affect the transmissibility of a social infection, just as viral infections can spread more easily in the wintertime when most people’s immune systems are weaker.
In addition, both will eventually reach a Tipping Point: the point at which the critical mass has been reached and the spread can no longer be stopped.
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