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How does an idea get adopted by the masses?

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

The book “The Tipping Point” talks about ideas and products spreading like viruses in an epidemic. Malcom Gladwell talks about the “connector” and the “Maven”.

The Maven are those that know extensively about a certain subject matter. In consulting, they are called subject matter experts (SME, not to be confused with “small-medium enterprises”).  They are the go to guy if you need to know about a certain subject. The connector on the other hand are those that are looked on as hubs…they make friends quickly and know a lot of people.  These two types of people can help make an idea “sticky”…eventually getting to that tipping point.

Well, when I read that book a few years ago, I found that fascinating and started looking around for things that initially may be just an idea (good or bad) and then evolve to the point where they become adopted by the masses.

So…when and how did words like “Worchester” in Massachusetts gets pronounced like “Wooster”. That really threw me off when I was on the train passing through that town.

Recently I had a conversation with Jim Flowers of VT KnowledgeWorks. and we spoke about the pronunciation of a town in Southwest Virginia called “Buchanan”. I have always pronounced it “Bue-kanan” (like the president) but the locals at Buchanan corrected me can says it is “Buck-Kanan”.  Now there is also a town in West Virginia not too far away pronounced that way and spelled “Buckhannon”. Could there be a relationship there?

How about this one…Featheringstonehaugh? Jim says it is pronounced “FannShaw”!

The question is when did they get pronounced that way? Who started it? How many people did it take to accept the new way of pronunciation?

So think about this for your ideas and business. Are there influencers and mavens in your industry you need to connect with to create stickiness?

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