James Governor's Monkchips

The Long Memory Trumps The Long Tail

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Damn – that’s smart. Barbara left that snippet as a comment on this blog about Gartner’s blogs.

As I understand it Barbara was talking to inertia, and the advantages of incumbency.

Of course Gartner can create a great network of excellent blogs, with a conversational model, if it chooses too. And it has some incredible native assets…

Its like Netscape turning into a digg clone.

But Stephen thinks we now have some substantive native advantages of our own. By lowering barriers to participation we are creating barriers to competitors. We’re going places they really don’t want to, and blogs have a lot to do with it.

I personally believe that blogs underpin everything that we do, and are – probably more than any other single factor – responsible for whatever success that we’re having at the moment. Why? Because the topics and positions we adopt are shaped in large part by our blogs; the reactions we get public and private, the traffic volume they generate, and the impact we see them have on product direction and strategy. Nor can we take all the credit; our blogs are about the participants as much as they are about us.

But take note of Barb’s words when you’re thinking about the death of the mainstream media and so on… because The Long Memory Trumps The Long Tail. For now.


  1. I’m not sure I see the point. Long Tail only really applies to the market as a whole; for any given niche, there are enough people on the internet to make that niche viable (because distribution costs are so low). But at an individual level, traditional marketing wisdom still applies: first movers have a huge advantage, and the Metcalfe Effect exists (so big things stay big) even inside individual niches. Long Memory ‘trumps’ Long Tail at the individual level, and Long Tail ‘trumps’ classic marketing techniques at the market level.

  2. Hey dan – good point, but i tend to think you may be discounting institutional memory within the market

  3. Curious to know why you have never commented on your old firm Illuminata. Are they more Gartner or more Redmonk. Be fair and savage in the pursuit of all folks not open…

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