Archive for November, 2011

My Long Tails

November 17, 2011

Chris Anderson popularized his version of the long tail in his book “The Long Tail.” I read the book and went on to use it to model software. Richard R. Reisman applied it to create a pricing model. I just came across Reisman’s work today, so it will take some time to think about, play with it, integrate it, and get back to you.

The last weekend in October found me attending Seattle Product Camp 11. I didn’t drive. The road trip is still a dream. I haven’t flown in something like eight years, that flight eight years ago didn’t involve layovers or luggage. The experience of flying has changed over the years, depreciated, but gotten cheaper in a few dimensions and more expensive in others. Flying is a good time to be on a diet, or a fast. A $10+ patty melt is a pocket melt. Still, I enjoyed Seattle and #PCS11. It was the first time I got to experience Seattle in overcast rainy weather, an improvement over LA’s bland constant sunshine, or the teasing Texas drought that hints, but never delivers.

Back to those long tails. I proposed a presentation for #PCS11, Long Tails and Thick Tails for Product Managers. The thick tail part of the presentation was intended to link my presentation at #PCS09, Game Theory for Product Managers, an advanced topic, since I didn’t want to get into the details of minimax, and the neatest thing was Poisson games, or games with an unknown population of players–the typical technology adoption problem. Poisson games linked to ideas that we were talking about at the time on the Anthropology for Product Managers tweetchat, Functional Cultures. The #PCS09 presentation led to my proposing of another presentation for #OC10, So you don’t have a market? Great!, a presentation about organizing markets with Poisson distributions and Markov chains, something that Moore hinted at with his bowling ally idea in Crossing the Chasm. One of people attending the #PCS09 presentation said of six-degrees of separation that it implied a thick tail. That statement laid there begging to be dug into. So my presentation in Seattle was intended to reply to that, and to make me sit down and collect my ideas about long tails and thick tails. They went far beyond software as long tails before it was over. It’s still not over. Just another question to stew on.

Alas, I didn’t actually get my proposal submitted for voting. The topic blew up. The sessions got shorter. The summary was illusive. Had it been finished it would have been three times too long. I’m still putting the presentation together even now. I’ll post it as a SlideShare when I’m done.

Getting back home,  Ruud Hein over at SearchEnginePeople asked me to write another guest post. So I wrote up the long tail part of my #PCS11 presentation. The presentation was intended to show how a long tail can be applied to model many different processes we bump into in product management and product marketing management. One of those models integrates product management and product marketing, a topic hinted at in this post on functional cultures.

So consider

Long Tails Beyond SEO

to be part one of a two if not three-part series that would have been my #pcs11 presentation.

My previous guest post on Rudd’s Search Engine People blog was on how I write my Strategy as Tires tweets. The title in the post was Ruud’s. I do my wall flowering thing at conferences.

Ruud, Thanks for the opportunity to guest post on your Search Engine People blog.