Friday, November 14, 2008

Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce
Tom Smith

This is quite interesting.  Note how it's also about how markets make people happier, and how it explains why we want so many varieties of toothpaste, coffee, etc.  contra all that too much choice nonsense.

(Please note I am not claiming Gladwell is doing any sort of original work here, or that he gets the history of horizontal segmentation in marketing right.  I don't doubt he is oversimplifying and distorting a fair bit.  But I suspect some version of what he is talking about is true -- that food companies figured out they could make more people happy and sell more products by figuring out what people wanted in segments and then marketing to those.  Also, I enjoy bottled pasta sauce, some of which is quite good, and I'm glad the market makes that possible.  Also, he is a really effective speaker.  I know lots of academics don't like him because he takes other people's ideas and makes a lot of money popularizing them.  But he hasn't taken any of my ideas, so I don't hate him.)

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Tom Smith