The Bell Curve is Flattening…

Seth Godin is at it again.

Godin’s latest book “We Are All Weird” was just released last week. As one of the most influential thinkers of today, I always eagerly anticipate a new work by him – and I was definitely not disappointed. Here’s a sample:

The distribution of a population is often shaped like a bell curve. For example, if you asked all the kids in a school to line up in order of height, the graph of how many kids were of each height would be shaped like the classic bell – you’d have as many 4 foot kids as 6 foot kids, and a whole bunch more in the middle at 5 feet.

Not surprisingly, this curve is called a normal distribution. It’s incredibly common in almost any phenomenon you look at (Internet usage, miles commuted to work, length of hair).

Something surprising is happening, though: the defenders of mass and normalcy and compliance are discovering that many of the bell curves that describe our behavior are flattening out.

 

Distributions of behavior remain, but as the anchors holding that behavior in place have loosened, the bells have spread, like a thawing ice sculpture.

There are now many bell curves, not just one. We don’t care so much about everyone; we care about us – where us is our people,  our tribe, our interest group, our weirdness – not the anonymous masses.

If you persist in trying to be all things to all people, you will fail. The only alternative then, is to be something important to a few people.

 

 

 

 

If you cater to the normal, you will disappoint the weird. And as the world gets weirder, that’s a dumb strategy.

 

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