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The Tipping Point for the Spread of Ideas

I recently came across the following research findings on the web validating that there exists a “network effect” or tipping point of the spread of beliefs when 10% of a group holds a belief:

“Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society. ‘When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority,’ said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski. ‘Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.’ These findings were published in the July 22, 2011, early online edition of the journal Physical Review E.”

So what are the implications here? They would include:

  1. It’s no longer the 20% that yields an 80% return but rather 10% that yields a 90% return.
  2. You don’t hae to have as large a number of people who buy into a new idea you have as you think.
  3. You can find those 10% influencers and accelerate your success. Who are they? Look for people like Seth Godin and Chris Brogan, but also go for people who are growing their influence–rising up through the influence rankings.
  4. Follow sites that produce the 10% wisdom on sites like Hubspot. That site is on steroids offering at least two amazing, free e-books a month on the 10% of net wisdom.
  5.  Follow just one thought leader you admire most. Pull out their top ideas and implement them. Document their contributions giving them full credit. I have found that after a year of taking Seth Godin’s advice I doubled my revenue. Focusing on just one leader at a time really helps you leverage. Focus creates leverage.

What other ideas to you have? Feel free to riff away!

Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

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