What happens when there is almost unlimited choice? When everything becomes available to everyone? And when the combined value of the millions of items that only sell in small quantities equals or even exceeds the value of a handful of best sellers?
In this groundbreaking audiobook, Chris Anderson shows that the future of business does not lie in hits ¿ the high-volume end of a traditional demand curve ¿ but in what used to be regarded as misses: the endlessly long tail of that same curve. As our world is transformed by the Internet and the near infinite choice it offers consumers, so traditional business models are being overturned and new truths revealed about what consumers want and how they want to get it.
Chris Anderson first explored the Long Tail in an article in Wired magazine that has become one of the most influential business essays of our time. Now he takes a closer look at the new economics of the Internet age, showing where business is going and exploring the huge opportunities that exist: for new producers, new e-tailers, and new tastemakers. He demonstrates how long-tail economics apply to industries ranging from the toy business to advertising to kitchen appliances. He sets down the rules for operating in a long-tail economy. And he provides a glimpse of a future that's already arriving.
Unabridged and featuring a special conversation with the author.
©2006 Chris Anderson; (P)Random House
"Anderson's insights with the long tail influence Google's strategic thinking in a profound way." (Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google)
"A terrifically impressive analysis. It captured the forces underlying this business perfectly." (Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon)
"Christopher Nissley's reading style fits the content; he's clipped and staccato, like Anderson's writing." (AudioFile)
This is a really important read for anyone in or thinking about business in the 21st century. The key points here are put across very clearly: the internet allows businesses to carry a virtually unlimited range of things and supply them to a virtually unlimited range of niche markets.
That the future belongs to the 'aggregators' (the Amazons carrying their unlimited stock) and the 'connectors' (the Googles connecting demand with supply) is likely. However, for my money, Anderson makes a fundamental mistake. He includes the producer as the third group to benefit from the 'long tail'. In the post 'hit' world that Anderson proposes, the new, democratised, individual producer will benefit. The problem is, he won't - and the examples that Anderson cites of creative individuals exploiting the 'long tail' are everything but. They are, in fact, examples of individuals who have used viral and guerrilla tactics to work their way into, guess what? The mainstream. In order to, guess what? Sell lots of albums or win mainstream TV air-time. In short, to achieve 'hit' status.
This for me is the weakness of this book. The 'Long Tail' perpetuates the 'consumer as producer' myth that keeps millions of hopeful individual producers creating the content that is already making the billions for the aggregators and the connectors.
I spent the first couple of chapters wondering if the author had anything much to say: he seemed to state his central thesis in about two paragraphs of the introduction! But this first impression was misleading - what just seems a rather obvious observation at first (that online stores can stock more stuff) gradually works up into a more complex and powerful argument that a significant fraction of our economy is altering. About half way through I found I was seeing long-tails and the economics of abundance everywhere I looked!
Only draw back is the mild and polished American voice which reads the text - I found this tended to have a soporific effect and I often had to replay sections which I 'tuned out' of inadvertently.
The main point raised in this book is certainly interesting, but as I was listening to this I think I counted the author repeating this insight and explanation 13 times, each in a more laboured fashion than the last. The first third of the book really annoyed me, and I was about to stop listening.... but after reading the review from David (from Cambridge) I stuck with it and was delighted to be taken through some more interesting engaging content.
Overall, probably worth a read but it would be better to skip the early sections once you've heard his main point a couple of times.
Really enjoyed this - an original point of view which turns the idea of market leadership on it's head. Fits in nicely with the concept that customised experiences are the future.
Love Wired magazine, then this style and the up to date examples will really appeal.
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