I was thinking about the book The long tail , its a great read even if it is bit old. The ideas are very much relevant in today’s businesses and will continue to be as long as the Gaussian bells are around. After some discussions with my friends i chanced upon this interesting idea that using the long tail model you can effectively change the consumer usage patterns, much like the Heisenberg principle in physics. Lets take a simple example to show this :
Not too many people want to watch Kurosawa’s Rashomon, so imagine X (a company which rents out movies) keeps this following the long tail concept. Some how it gets picked up by some movie person , who recommends it …. this will create a network growth effect which can potentially skew the graphs on which the theory is based (conclusion : rashomon may become a super rental movie for X).
A movie which was relatively lesser know gets watched more because its niche and with time it skews the initial movie rental graphs in its favor. So the curve changes because the movie gets stocked, so the ability to predict the number of copies for a certain movie becomes way more difficult with time. Relevant links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect