Niches Add Up

After watching Chris Anderson’s TED Talk on technology long tailing, I now have a greater understanding of the term. Long tailing is used to refer to the large number of products that sell in small quantities, as contrasted with the small number of best-selling products. Throughout the video, he goes into detail about forecasting technology trends. How we can predict the future technology? He explains that all technology goes through four stages. Well, at least one stage of the technology’s life. This will change the technology and the inflection points.

The stages will identify what the next chapter in that particular technology life is. The first stage is the critical price, which means the first stage it will fall below critical price. If it is successful, it then moves on to the next stage, the second, critical mass. Then displace another technology moving it again, making the third stage, another technology. The last stage is nearly free because the technology has commoditized.

He gives us the example of the DVD and how it went through all the four stages. Sony ends up losing market share and Apex gains it. Also, he gives us different technologies and where they are at in the stages. For example, gene sequencing and AIDS drugs are in the critical stage. Linux and Hybrid cars are in critical mass. The free is an economic force and the most interesting. Examples of this are storage being able to have every song you want on your phone and long-distance phone calls.

By listening to Anderson’s talk, I have realized how fast things evolve and change. Technology is constantly changing and improving. He talks about what Skype is in this TED talk, but now everyone knows what skyping is. “Anderson’s theory is that even though the products near the end of the tail do not, individually, sell well, when taken together ‘all the niches add up’” (Hindle). Long tailing will continue to move and change technology through the four stages. There will soon be a new phenomenon to give long tailing another boost towards another new technology.


Works Cited

Hindle, Tom. “The long tail.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 5 Jan. 2009, Web

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