The three laws of epidemics
1. The Law of the Few
All people are connected through 5 or 6 handshakes. All people are connected, but not all of the people are connected equally.
There is a certain type of people that author calls Connectors, Mavens or Salespeople.
They have a natural tendency to know many people and have a positive influence on them.
Word of Mouth epidemics are the work of connectors.
Connectors are people who naturally know many people. It is their natural confidence in themselves self that makes them easygoing with strangers. As a result they are able to easily spread information and become the most effective agent for an epidemic.
Mavens are people who are obsessed with collecting information. An example of such person is an old lady who collects coupons and knows the prices in all of the stores around. Mavens have another interesting speciality: they have a natural desire to share their information for the benefit of others around: promotions, deals, movies and restaurants.
Salesmen are people who have a very natural instinct of finding common grounds with everyone. Their persuasion is based on the natural ability to connect with others on the subconscious level and share their state and mood with everyone they interact with.
2. The Stickiness Factor
Just spreading the information does not cause the epidemic to tip.
The second crucial factor for a successful epidemic is stickiness.
The carrier has to repeatedly encounter or think about the matter for it to stick. An example is a short song in an advertisement that sticks to the listener and they keep humming the song after listening to the ad.
3. The Power of Context
It is said that the direct environment has more influence on our decisions than any other thing such as way of thinking, background and genes.
For example, a subway station painted in graffiti invites to crime even well mannered people.
“Broken windows theory” says that if the windows are broken, people think that no one cares and commit bigger crime.