Tag Archives: The Long Tail Chris Anderson Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell power law distribution normal distribution bell curve risk management Internet business risk management

The Long Tail Offline

Chris Anderson has been posting about the Long Tail, which is about how only a relatively small number of movies, records, books, etc. get wide distribution, and if you plot all of a given type of product, such as movies, on a graph with x being number of copies sold or viewed for pay, and y being individual movies in descending order of copies, you see a short fat head that gets regular distribution and a very long tail that does not. The main point is that the long tail has as much value as the fat head, and with the Internet it is now possible to distribute the long tail to cult movie viewers, old movie buffs, afficionados of certain genres, etc.

Here’s a different case where everyone takes the long tail to be representative when the short head accounts for most of the money:

The first of those people was Murray Barr, and Johns and O’Bryan realized that if you totted up all his hospital bills for the ten years that he had been on the streets—as well as substance-abuse-treatment costs, doctors’ fees, and other expenses—Murray Barr probably ran up a medical bill as large as anyone in the state of Nevada.

“It cost us one million dollars not to do something about Murray,” O’Bryan said.

MILLION-DOLLAR MURRAY Why problems like homelessness may be easier to solve than to manage. by MALCOLM GLADWELL New Yorker, Issue of 2006-02-13 and 20, Posted 2006-02-06

The money in this case is medical expenses paid for by hospitals or the state, for care of homeless people. Continue reading