Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Critical Mass, a tipping point:

I have discussed Critical Mass before, the mythical customer that comes into your restaurant, sprinkles the magic dust and your restaurant becomes an overnight success. Critical Mass of course refers to the point where a restaurant goes from simply surviving to being, it refers to the tipping point, the inflection point or whatever metric you wish to use to describe the transformation.

Malcolm Gladwell’s landmark book, “The Tipping Point says (excerpted from

“For example, Paul Revere was able to galvanize the forces of resistance so effectively in part because he was what Gladwell calls a "Connector": he knew just about everybody, particularly the revolutionary leaders in each of the towns that he rode through. But Revere "wasn't just the man with the biggest Rolodex in colonial Boston," he was also a "Maven" who gathered extensive information about the British. He knew what was going on and he knew exactly whom to tell. The phenomenon continues to this day--think of how often you've received information in an e-mail message that had been forwarded at least half a dozen times before reaching you.”

Duncan Watts new research highlighted in Fast Company this month, essentially says that ideas spread because their time has come, not because of who spreads it.

Seth Godin take on the brouhaha is very salient:

It spread because passionate people did.

One more reason not to obsess about the A list in any media category. Worry instead about people with passion and people with lots of friends. You need both for ideas to spread.”

My point about the hypothetical Critical Mass is that you need passionate users to create customer advocacy. That passionate user is Critical Mass. Your restaurant needs to connect with customers, it needs to treat every interaction as a relationship, not a transaction. Critical Mass will visit every restaurant, however if it does not find you worthy, it moves on without sprinkling the magic dust. Your mission should you decide to accept it, is to have a restaurant that creates customer advocacy. Passion should reside in your restaurant, passion that will be instantly recognizable to Critical Mass when it visits.