Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen

It’s always been apparent to me that we are all equally  unique and have a certain aura about us. While reading this next chapter, Gladwell touched on a concept of “Connectors, Mavens, & Salesmen.” It made it possible to see the overall importance of these individuals and how they play a part in these “tipping” points (epidemics). I found it very entertaining to learn of his views on the communication and transferring information by “word of mouth,” and how it was and will always by an important means of communication.

When Paul Revere  set out on his mission armed with the historical message of  “the British are coming.” He road horseback for 13 miles, from Charleston to Menotomy. He used his voice and told his listener’s to use theirs. Within a matter of hours the British had begun their (what they had thought to be an) “undetected” invasion, they than came face to face with the Colonial Militia, and ultimately lost the fight. Gladwell explained that Revere was acting out as a Connector, he brought the people together, and his unique drive to “connect” and pass along the urgent message allowed the information to branch and torrent throughout the region as quickly as it did.

The comic that you see to your left is depicting a Maven confronting a Connector. Maven’s have the ability to interpret the qualities of people, place’s, or things in a different manor than the way most of us do. For example: You would say, “This coffee is too weak.” The Maven on the other hand might say “The coffee is a little delicate.” They have a knack for being pretty much neutral with all things. I think it be awesome if more people were this way.

Who do you listen to and ask for advice? If you know someone that knows what is seemingly everything about anything you might want to know about, and they are always somehow persuading you to take on a new hobbie, a purchase, maybe even a new favorite place to hangout. These individuals would be what Gladwell refers to as the “Salesman.” He points out that we still, in this day and age really do rely on our connection to people. The persuasion people have through  “wom” (word of mouth), despite all of these ingenious technologically advanced methods of advertising they’re usually overpowered by “wom,” because human beings like to believe that what they are being told is truth, really is in fact that, the truth. It’s easier to believe when the facts are being conveyed in a more “human” like fashion, like say a conversation between a friend. You’ll more than likely accept your friends opinion of a restaurant, over any commercial no matter how enticing it may be.

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The Three Rules of Epidemics

When I think of an Epidemic, personally I was always under the impression that it was just an un-naturally high percentage of some occurrence than the typical norm, and usually un-chartable or easily unexplainable. When Gladwell began his introduction with “Hush Puppies,” Not to be silly, I got hungry for just a moment, just till I understood he was referring to “Hush Puppies” the style of shoe.

They were a quickly dying fashion accessory, or far beyond that notion, because the makers and sellers of the “hush puppy” shoe were under the impression that they were in fact dead. That was all until a select few of urban “un-trendy” setters tried to rebel against the current fashion, while wearing the shoe out and about; keeping a “hey, I’m cool, because I’m not cool like you” attitude about them.

Naturally, one might believe that this little random act of rebel driven fasion faux pas, might be short lived and fade off into obscurity: which turned out to be so unbelievably wrong. Unexpectedly, the onlookers of these select few individuals were taken in by their (the hush puppy wearers) “renewed” unique sense of style and soon there after, found themselves entertained with the look and suddenly started sporting the same once “un-trendy” style of shoe. Than even sooner after that, the trend branched out rapidly, as does the natural action of yawning (which I thought was such a great analogy to use in reference to epidemics).

Gladwell had explained this in his other examples of epidemics, that an epidemic spreads like wildfire when a “unique” and highly unf-familiar variable is placed into an unfamiliar/alien environment, the percentage of something incredibly radical occurring has therefore been increased.

While I find myself being taken in by his creatively stringent analogies, his incredibly awesome explanations and connections he makes between the what, and the how in all of this, I’m still skeptical that everything has a plausible explanation (just because I’m “silly” like that). When I learned of the unfortunate and tragic incidence that occurred in Poland; where the infants of the maternity ward were being infected with the HIV virus at an alarming rate; many died, but miraculously, many survived after infection.

I realized that we as humans, sometimes are the epidemic enablers but don’t have to be, we unknowingly allow them to occur at times when we are overlooking the obvious of possibilities. or maybe we just aren’t concerned, and are too busy being selfish to the thought that we aren’t alone in the world. We do effect, and cause effect. Which makes me bring on the question of fate, is this meant to be?

The Tipping Point (my book choice)

Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for the New Yorker. He was formerly a business and science reporter at the Washington Post. He is the author of the The Tipping Point and Blink, both of which have become #1 New York Times bestsellers as well as bestsellers in translation throughout the world.”

I’ve heard many a good things about the book and I’m hoping I will enjoy reading it. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts and opinions with the class each week.  If you are also interested in owning a copy of Gladwells The Tipping Point, you can order your copy here.

“Malcolm Gladwell speaks to Minnesotas Tipping Point, outlining what steps need to be undertaken in order to improve safety and justice in the state and across the country over the next 50 years. This event was hosted by the Council on Crime and Justice in recognition of its 50th Anniversary.”

My Media History

    Do you ever wish you knew everything? A lot of us do, I’m sure of it; well, I know I did, and still do. While we might think of knowing “everything” a bit absurd, with today’s technological genius, knowing everything really isn’t as impossible as it would sound. Everything is now, literally (or should I say practically) at our fingertips. Growing up, I can remember rushing home just in time to watch my favorite cartoons, I can remember during family gatherings, so much focus was on a sports game or the latest episode on some soap (oh how I loathed those soaps). Aside from TV, naturally as a child, I loved video games, and comics… and even loved attempting to sketch my favorite comic book heroes.

    During my childhood, there were few occasions where news related media effected me, that was up until when Hurricane Andrew in 1992, my family and I were taking shelter in a Miami hotel during the whole ordeal, I remember being scared and wanted to know of the who, and the what? the why? where? I wanted information, I needed to know, everything (to feel safe I guess).

    The forms of media comes in many shapes and forms, from physically written/printed form of course (books, newspapers, banners, etc.) and than we have electronic data that is readily available on screen (via TV, computer, mobile devices), and audible through some form of speaker that expels an electronic signal transfer that we interact with. I wasn’t a big reader, though I did read (parent enforced). But, I was a huge listener, from stories to music and poetry, I loved media in audio form. I can remember the first cassette I ever owned was Michael Jackson’s “Heal The World,” and no, I’m not ashamed to the admittance of this.

    Later in life, I can remember when the computer, or more specifically I should say, the “home” computer (the pc) became more prominent in the households of my friends and family. I was in the 3rd grade it was 1993, and I must have been the last one of my friends to own a PC. When finally in my possession,  I knew nothing of the word “sleep,” It was the PC, me, and my good friend Maxis (my favorite game developers). I loved “Sim City.” The thought of building my own little perfect world and overseeing its importance and value must have tickled my liking in astronomic levels, because I owned practically every extension of the game.

    I’m guessing that’s where my love of design and media first began. I now honestly, cannot even bare the thought of not having the technology readily available for my media viewing and creativity driven state of mind. I’m excited knowing that there are future technologies that await my discovery that will continue to help feed my need to know everything, or at least the things that I want to know in a matter of a short press of a button or a few spoken words into a device with voice recognition. How cool is the device that opens our eyes to new possibilities and new life, things that we could never tangibly experience? (very cool).