Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Long Tail Of Value

A certain poobah of Twitter was touting his book today and I was reading some of the tweets relating this event.

One of them caught my eye:

This is so obvious a concept that I was somewhat startled to see it explained.

Here it is another way:
A convict from Darlington, England, was released from jail after serving three years for embezzlement.

One day, he happened to pass Mayor John Morel on the streets. Embarrassed and completely withdrawn, this convict pretended not to see the Mayor and walked past him. But he suddenly felt the Mayor holding his hands and turned around instantly to hear the Mayor say, in a cheery tone, "Hello! I am so glad to see you! How are you?" The man appeared ill at ease and the discussion stopped then and there.

Years later, according to the story told by J.H. Jowett, Morel accidentally met the same man in another town. This time the young man stopped the Mayor himself and said, "I want to thank you for what you did for me when I came out of prison." "What did I do?" asked the Mayor, surprised. "You spoke a kind word to me and it changed my life," replied the the grateful man.

The above is a paraphrase from a Robert H. Schuller book, Believe in the God Who Believes in You (Google Book Search link).

This is what I call the Long Tail of Value.

American business is FAILing left and right because it's based on squeezing the juice out of every single penny (which is actually a load of crap; those of you who decry wasteful government have no idea of how wasteful business is!).

This is the very antithesis of life itself, which is based on chance, serendipity, synchronicity, coincidence, and the longest possible perspective.

When the Mayor offered his greeting, was he thinking of its ROI? Did he do a calculation to see what was in it for him?

Perhaps this is why businesspeople -- so-called -- can't "figure out" how to use Twitter.

They've forgotten how to be human beings.

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