All epidemics have Tipping Points. Jonathan Crane, a sociologist at the University of Illinois, has looked at the effect the number of role models in a community—the professionals, managers, teachers whom the Census Bureau has defined as “high status”—has on the lives of teenagers in the same neighborhood. He found little difference in pregnancy rates or school drop out rates in neighborhoods of between 40 and 5 percent of high status workers. But when the number of profes sionals dropped below 5 percent, the problems exploded. For black schoolchildren, for example, as the percentage of...
Note: important for rural communities too
In his classic 1974 study Getting a Job, Granovetter looked at several hundred professional and technical workers from the Boston suburb of Newton, interviewing them in some detail on their employment history. He found that 56 percent of those he talked to found their job through a personal connection. Another 18.8 percent used formal means—advertisements, headhunters—and roughly 20 percent applied directly. This much is not surprising; the best way to get in the door is through a personal contact. But, curiously, Granovetter found that of those personal connections, the majority were “weak...
Note: Finding a job study yielded interesting results
Horchow’s daughter, Sally, told me a story of how she once took her father to a new Japanese restaurant where a friend of hers was a chef. Horchow liked the food, and so when he went home he turned on his computer, pulled up the names of acquaintances who lived nearby, and faxed them notes telling them of a wonderful new restaurant he had discovered and that they should try it. This is, in a nutshell, what word of mouth is. It’s not me telling you about a new restaurant with great food, and you telling a friend and that friend telling a friend. Word of mouth begins when somewhere along that...
Note: how word of mouth actually happens
We all want to believe that the key to making an impact on someone lies with the inherent quality of the ideas we present. But in none of these cases did anyone substantially alter the content of what they were saying.
Note: it isnt just about the idea