The Tipping Point

I still remember, it was not too long ago, how much I could not stand the stiletto heel pointed-toe shoes. They looked so “nineteen seventies” and old fashion. I could never imagine myself wearing things like that.

Last year, those shoes made a huge come-back. All of a sudden, they appeared on the shelves of every department store and are considered the sexiest and chicest shoes in our time. Within a matter of a few months, all my platform and square-toed shoes were completely out of fashion, and I found myself putting on the shoes I thought I would never wear.

This was the “epidemic effect” talked about by in his famous book The Tipping Point. Human beings are profoundly social beings who are influenced by and influencing others. According to Gladwell, some small number of “connectors” who are “infectious” could have big influence on ideas, products, and behaviors, resulting in world-changing impact.

The Connector Group is pioneering what I call “tipping point marketing” by engaging Silicon Valley’s top influencers and tastemakers in a for products and services by some of the most innovative companies. I felt greatly privileged to be included in this crowd. Auren Hoffman, the founder of Stonebrick Group and a true connector, is the mastermind of this event.

A dozen companies presented in the showcase. Most of them are in the space of digital media, Web 2.0 and wireless industries. Some are big name including , , and MobiTV, etc. The Valley’s popular new comers Meebo, a web-base IM service, and Sling Media, a maker of Slingbox that lets users watch TV from a PC and has just raised $46 million Series B round, also made their debut.

Among many impressive products, Google Earth showcased some amazing new features, including flying an airplane in virtual space, real time satellite images that can be zoomed into local facts, and tilting and rotating the map to see 3D buildings. I am a world traveler. Google Earth can help me to make an informed decision on my next travel plan.

We are living in an age of technology renaissance. For better or worse, consumers are facing proliferating choices. The technologies that can make their life easier or save their time are the ones they will most likely adopt.

It’s exciting to be part of this elite group that can presumably “move and shake” the future. It’s also interesting to see whether the theory of “tipping point” holds in the real world. Although the “epidemic effect” is apparent in fashion trends, for technology products and services, it may be a completely different story.

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