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« Shipping and handling | Main | No one expected a tornado »

The 80:1 Freakonomics Paradox

The Journal reports that there are a slew of Freakonomics-like books on the market. Some of them are actually pretty good, few are selling at all. My guess is that the original has outsold its competitors by about 80 to 1.

That's not surprising if you talk to people. A good friend of mine who never ever reads books about business or economics just picked up a copy last week. She said, "I think it's time I read this, right?" When a product becomes a hit, an entirely new class of people become interested in it, largely because it's a hit.

Which leads to the paradox. The easiest products in the world to develop, option, license and get to market are copycat products. They are beyond reproach. They feel safe. In actuality, though, most markets aren't big enough for two blockbusters. The first one dominates the little market, which allows it to break through and capture the attention of the big market. The bestseller creates the problem (I haven't read that/tasted that/been there) and then solves that problem. The second (and third and fourth and fifth) are trying to sell a solution to people who no longer have the problem.

Sure, in the long run, a blockbuster can create an entirely new market that lasts for a long time (The Model T, for example, or Star Wars) but building your own blockbuster is generally a lot easier than copying someone else's.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The 80:1 Freakonomics Paradox:

» What Piece of Your Market Does Your Product Serve? from The Profitable Business Edge 2™
If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed for future updates. Thanks for visiting The Profitable Business Edge 2.Seth Godin gives a lesson on how much room a market has for a break out or blockbuster prod... [Read More]

» Are Freakonomics copycats dud? from Pankaj Kumar's Weblog
The copycats of the 2005 mega seller Freakonomics, such as Discover Your Inner Economist and The Economic Naturalist, aren't doing well -- says The Wall Street Journal. The story backs it up with some interesting statistics from Nielsen BookScan sales... [Read More]

» Seth's Blog: The 80:1 Freakonomics Paradox from THE BIZOP NEWS
I enjoy reading Seth Godin, like many I suppose. Here is his latest riff; can you spot the obvious flaw? I can.Seth's Blog: The 80:1... [Read More]

» The best Seller vs. the knock off campaign from Network-Centric Advocacy
My sense is that this ratio plays out exactly the same with campaigns and campaign ideas. We have to many copycat campaigns all of them "are trying to sell a solution to people who no longer have the problem". They [Read More]

» Seths Blog: The 80:1 Freakonomics Paradox from Being Mark Cohen
Seth Godin has a great post today titled The 80:1 Freakonomics Paradox. The principle could be extended to say that in a small ecosystem the dominant player gets bigger and stronger. This is just as evident in the online world. In a (relatively) sma... [Read More]

» Don’t Fear the Copycats from The Marketing Fresh Peel
You and your team spent months developing a marketing plan that would position your company as the sole leader in the uncharted waters of a new market or market segment. You agonized over all the little things that make a big difference and made sur... [Read More]

« Shipping and handling | Main | No one expected a tornado »