A problem with the Long Tail (Although an amazing number of things are powerlaws, a lot of things aren’t. How can you tell...
A powerlaw
Shown another way
WTF?
The Missing Market
Source: Morris Rosenthal
 
 
The problem
 
 
Examples of phenomena that follow powerlaw distributions <ul><li>Species distribution among plants </li></ul><ul><li>Squar...
Examples of phenomena that follow lognormal distributions <ul><li>Concentration of elements in the earth's crust </li></ul...
What’s the difference? <ul><li>Powerlaws : created  by “preferential attachment” in scale-free networks. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Lognormal distributions : created by &quot;proportionate effects&quot; (like growing by a proportion of your weigh...
Question <ul><li>Assuming it all comes down to network effects, how can you predict whether the “natural shape” (free of b...
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A problem with the Long Tail

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A talk by Chris Anderson at SciFoo (in Google) on whether the long tail a power law distribution or a lognormal distribution.

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  • Please read these notes to get a sense of what I’d be saying while talking through these slides. Needless to say, I talk a lot more than I’m writing here, but you’ll get the main points.
  • A problem with the Long Tail

    1. 1. A problem with the Long Tail (Although an amazing number of things are powerlaws, a lot of things aren’t. How can you tell the difference?) (Read the text in the notes panel at the bottom for narration)
    2. 2. A powerlaw
    3. 3. Shown another way
    4. 4. WTF?
    5. 5. The Missing Market
    6. 6. Source: Morris Rosenthal
    7. 9. The problem
    8. 12. Examples of phenomena that follow powerlaw distributions <ul><li>Species distribution among plants </li></ul><ul><li>Square footage of Alaskan Inuit homes </li></ul><ul><li>Forest fires, by size </li></ul><ul><li>Cities, by population </li></ul><ul><li>Death toll in wars </li></ul><ul><li>Earthquakes </li></ul><ul><li>Word use </li></ul><ul><li>Number of papers published by scientists </li></ul>
    9. 13. Examples of phenomena that follow lognormal distributions <ul><li>Concentration of elements in the earth's crust </li></ul><ul><li>Latent periods of infectious diseases </li></ul><ul><li>Survival times after cancer diagnosis </li></ul><ul><li>Distribution of chemicals in the environment (including pollution) </li></ul><ul><li>Species distribution among moths and diatoms </li></ul><ul><li>Crystals in ice cream </li></ul><ul><li>Length of words in spoken conversation </li></ul>
    10. 14. What’s the difference? <ul><li>Powerlaws : created by “preferential attachment” in scale-free networks. </li></ul>
    11. 15. <ul><li>Lognormal distributions : created by &quot;proportionate effects&quot; (like growing by a proportion of your weight). </li></ul>
    12. 16. Question <ul><li>Assuming it all comes down to network effects, how can you predict whether the “natural shape” (free of bottlenecks and other scarcity distortions) is a powerlaw or a lognormal distribution? </li></ul>
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