Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Long Tail and the New Economy.

Have you thought about how the new highly successful businesses are exploiting the long tail? Or do you wonder what the Hell is a long tail? Get with the new statistical jargon that explains why niches matter.

The long tail is about how the most interesting or important stuff is not what happens to most in a distribution curve but what happens to the few at the ends. If you are looking for a book anyone can sell you the best-sellers, but who will sell you and recommend to you the tiny-sellers you are interested in? Most people hardly use hospitals but a few will need extensive medical treatment.

The New Yorker Magazine had an article about the long tail problem and social policies like homelessness and healthcare. I linked to this without much comment in my big blog.

The Long Tail is I think also a key factor in understanding the problems with No Child Left Behind. I can't find a good relevant article online about it right now but it is my strong belief is that mass testing and mass instruction for these minimal competency requirements short changes the students and the nation by ignoring both the gifted and the problem students - the ones outside the middle. It also ignores developing the special talents of all.

Here is a useful place to begin to understand the long tail and how it is being used.

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