A while ago, a very wise man asked me to come to a meeting as he thought I was an "influencer" on the London beer scene. He had been reading a book called the Tipping Point - How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell and was trying to implement some of its teachings.
Since then the phrase Tipping Point has entered common usage to mean "that moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point". However the book itself seeks to explain in more detail how "ideas and products and messages and behaviours spread like viruses do". Gladwell describes The Tipping Point as "that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire".
The important section of the book from the perspective of this blog post is what Gladwell calls the Law of the Few, described as one of the agents of change in the tipping points of epidemics.
He suggests that the "success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts". These people are described as follows :
Connectors - are the people in the community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions.
Mavens - are the information specialists, the people we rely on to connect us with new information. They accumulate knowledge, especially about the marketplace, and know how to share it with others. "Mavens start word-of-mouth epidemics due to their knowledge, social skills, and ability to communicate. They are really information brokers, sharing and trading what they know".
Salesmen - are the "persuaders", charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills.
The book itself goes into much more detail about how these groups of people can help influence markets and move towards that threshold moment. If you wish to dig out some further detail, you can buy the book or at least read the wikipedia page where I lifted most of this from or check out the Gladwell Tipping Point website.
I continue to aspire to be a Beer Maven and a blog helps me in that development.