Tuesday, July 18

The idea of the Long-Tail

"Our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of mainstream products." -- Long Tail 101

1. Make everything available.
2. Help me find it.
Chris Anderson, The Long Tail

The ideas in Chris' new book will be talked about for years. His fresh perspective helps you understand the success stories of companies such as, Amazon, Google, Lego, RealNetworks, Netflix, and iTunes.

"As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers. In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-targeted goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare."

One. BI vendors may benefit from the Long Tail thinking. Focusing on the market of lots of items that sell a few units can be as profitable as a market of a few items that sell a lot of units. Today the aim is generic products with each installation using the same rainbow of product offerings. Assumes all customers have the same needs.

Two. BI can "make everything (ie. data) available" to the users. Bi does this well. But do we do a good job with the "help me find it"? Users can be lost in a sea of information BI makes available to them. A double-edged sword.

Apply various design approaches to increase user's usability of BI. Portal design. Free text search. Simplified look and feel. Personalized information.

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