Big Tippers

Tipping Trends

The tipping point doesn't explain everything. It's still no cinch to know whether you're barking up the wrong tree with a new policy or product, or whether you're about to approach a tipping point when suddenly everything you wanted to happen will take place with blinding speed. While the tipping point has been well supported by scientific studies in fields such as epidemiology, no similar studies have taken place in business, so the theory's validity in this area is still based on anecdotal evidence, notes Melcher.

Yet Gladwell's explanation of how things work is simple, attractive and flexible. While the tipping point probably won't solve every problem you encounter, it will address many of your business issues. "People who understand the tipping point," Gladwell says, "have a way of decoding the world around them."

Mark Henricks is an Austin, Texas, writer who specializes in business topics.

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This article was originally published in the December 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Big Tippers.

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