In the Tipping Point Vein

The other day I recommended you read The Tipping Point. Some fascinating research work is showing how the Tipping Point functions.

“researchers at Hewlett-Packard have proven the hunch, with a new study that reveals how workers use email to share information. A key finding – that a few connected individuals are often the power brokers of most information sharing – could yield valuable insights in both corporate efficiency and crime fighting. “

They are suggesting the traditional organisational chart is dead. Instead, you can model the organisational structure – one which reflects the true structure – by analysing information flow through the organisation.

“The researchers identified the key ringleaders who, like a network hub, served as a busy intersection for email traffic. By using 3D visual analysis and zoom graphs, Mr. Huberman and his colleagues revealed sub-communities that were rapidly sharing vast quantities of information. “

Worms Like Art

A good article interviewing worm and virus writers in Europe. And what a nice bunch of teenagers they seem to be.

“For the top worm writers, the goal is to make something that’s brand new. A truly innovative worm, Philet0ast3r said, ‘is like art’. To allow his malware to travel swiftly online, the virus writer must keep its code short and efficient. ‘One condition of art,’ he noted, ‘is doing good things with less.'”

Those of us who have battled infections, despite the best efforts our anti-virus programs, may disagree.

Tipping Point

I read a lot of books, but only a few I finish, put down, and feel I’ve just experienced a revelation. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell is one of them. If you are in marketing, business, in fact anything, do yourself a favour and go and buy a copy now.

The Tipping Point is all about how little things can make a big difference. Here’s the author explaining:

“It’s a book about change. In particular, it’s a book that presents a new way of understanding why change so often happens as quickly and as unexpectedly as it does. For example, why did crime drop so dramatically in New York City in the mid-1990’s? How does a novel written by an unknown author end up as national bestseller? Why do teens smoke in greater and greater numbers, when every single person in the country knows that cigarettes kill? Why is word-of-mouth so powerful? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? I think the answer to all those questions is the same. It’s that ideas and behavior and messages and products sometimes behave just like outbreaks of infectious disease. They are social epidemics. The Tipping Point is an examination of the social epidemics that surround us.”
If you are a penniless arts organisation, with no marketing budget, you’re going to find a great deal to get excited about.

Singapore Joins the Anti-Spam Brigade

Singapore has announced that it is considering anti-spam legislation – although, with 90% of spam received by Singaporeans originating from outside their country (similar to Australia’s situation) it’s hard to see just what legislating will do. Given the Singapore government’s penchent for floggings and other corporal punishment, if the legislation gets up, I’m not sure I’d be willing to take the chance. Being fined for sending spam is one thing. Being publicly flogged is another.

Online Education Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Online education and learning delivery has been much hyped at various times of the past few years. But some research in the US is suggesting it might not be the holy grail. For example, in one state:

“In Pennsylvania, students who attended the state’s six cyber schools scored below the state average in a majority of proficiency tests, according to 2003 test results. The PA System of School Assessment exam, or PSSA exam, given to fifth-, eighth- and 11th-grade students show cyber schools were below the state average in 17 out of 24 comparisons, and in half the cases the schools did not meet the state’s goals of 35 percent of students showing proficiency in math, and 45 percent in reading. “

Why not just use the phone

Telstra has introduced an SMS->Voice service – you can send an SMS text message from your mobile to a fixed line home phone When the message arrives, your phone rings, and a computer voice reads the message to you. Which begs the question – why not just ring the person up to start with? I guess I can see the usefulness – a company could use it to communicate roster information etc to people without mobiles. Although I didn’t think there was a cat or dog left in Australia who doesn’t have one.