TED Talks: Malcolm Gladwell and universals vs variables

Malcolm Gladwell wrote The Tipping Point and Blink. I liked both books and don’t care what people are currently saying about The Tipping Point. This video covers three points re: Howard Muscowitz work in the 1970’s:Don’t ask, Measure. People won’t say they want weak milky coffee, (75%) they always say dark rich hearty roast. I…


Malcolm Gladwell wrote The Tipping Point and Blink. I liked both books and don’t care what people are currently saying about The Tipping Point.

This video covers three points re: Howard Muscowitz work in the 1970’s:
Don’t ask, Measure. People won’t say they want weak milky coffee, (75%) they always say dark rich hearty roast. I like milky weak coffee but I realise it emasculates men to admit that.
Horizontal Segmentation. Democratisation of products instead of reaching out for something higher up the mustard hierarchy. Happiness doesn’t come from keeping up with the Joneses, it comes from finding out what you like and taking that voyage of discovery. Unless you are a marketing person, then what makes you happy is having something everybody else wants. Oh, ok, I added that last line. 😛 All mustards are created equal.
Not one right product, but many. Not one right way of making mustard but many tastes. Don’t compete head-to-head on say BBQ sauce but make a new sauce, like Worcestershire. Or something. Discover and cater to niches. You will make more money from creating a number of pasta sauces than competing with the leader on one sauce and splitting that segment between you. (The Platonic dish)

I thought I didn’t like pizza until I had Italian pizzas. So I went from not being a consumer to being a passionate advocate of a different type of pizza. Round, cheesy, over ingrediented pizzas begone!

The last point kills the notion that people don’t like choice. They just don’t like change of the sake of change or choice for the sake of choice.

Just a little snippet for you to watch and think about. In marketing, its the move from the search for universals to the understanding of variability. In our lives, the only universal truth in the pursuit of happiness is that it’s different for each and every one of us.

hat tip: @codinghorror

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3 Comments

  1. This has long been one of my fav TED talks.

    I reckon I was saying “there is no perfect pepsi, but rather there are perfect pepsi’s” for at least two weeks after i watched it.

    are you sure you want to watch lost, or do you want to watch lost’s

    i’m not taking my car to the car wash, i’m taking it to the car washes.

    repeat until your friends are sick of you.

  2. Ohh, and on a side note – i couldn’t help but fixate on Malcolm’s lankey fingers 🙂

  3. Ya I couldn’t stop watching his hands.

    CodingHorror wants to know if he’s had a haircut since 2004 (when the video was made).

    Actually he said “has he had his ‘fro manscaped” which I took to mean the same thing 😛

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