The long tail. Class two.

July 16, 2008

I really enjoyed T.A. McCann who was this week’s guest speaker. He brought up a couple topics I was particularly interested in. First of all, he covered the topic on what motivates people to participate by talking about both emotional and financial rewards. One of the examples he used to illustrate the architecture of participation was a HelpShare/Google maps mashup. It was really amazing to see how these IT questions and answers distribute all over the World. As for me, the fact of a lot of answers coming from Easter Europe endorses not just the fact that outsourced work is the long tail of information (according to McCann), but also talks about the long tail in human resources (that’s one more reason why Microsoft strongly advocates working visas for foreign workers).

One more thing, which was really amazing to me, was the McCann’s estimate on the average Internet niche saturation. Answering the question of a student, he mentioned that there are 5 main players and 50 small players in pretty much every niche (Wishpot is an example of one of the players in the field of Internet wish lists). One of the speakers at the last week’s Seattle Tech Startup event mentioned that ideas are cheap. Implementation is what really matters. It’s really easy and relatively cheap to copy any idea; that explains the significant number of players in each niche. However, only few make it to the top…

Discussing the suggested questions during the second part of the class was also an interesting exercise. Unfortunately, we didn’t have too much time for it, so some of the questions were left not completely answered.



One Response to “The long tail. Class two.”

  1. kegill Says:

    consider reading Shirky, then, for your optional book!

    If you think about it, though, 55 is still pretty small, so I’m pretty sure the universe is larger. And 5-45 is 90-10 …

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