Tuesday, February 26, 2008

From Barack-Clinton to Google: Could You See The Tipping Point?

Can Hillary vs. Barack teach us something about the Internet marketplace?

Everyone seems to recognize the tipping point after the fact. But can you see one coming?

My view is fairly simple – look for the bases to be somehow loaded and then watch out for something outstanding or outrageous to happen.

In politics, the bases are always loaded, so the key is: what would set your own people against you?

Right now, the Obama campaign has a tremendous momentum behind it. Coming off 11 straight victories, Obama has the upswing in his favor. But where did this momentum start? What was the tipping point?

Conventional wisdom has it that the appearance of Bill on the attack worked against the Clinton campaign.

But my view is a little different.

"Attack Bill" is nowhere near as loaded as a veiled racial attack, and I think that is where Hillary's campaign began to fall apart.

When Hillary accused Obama of working for a slum landlord, she almost instantly lost the black vote. If Obama had been deeply involved with the slumlord it would have been one thing, but his involvement was slight. People of color were asked to choose: a gender-correctness or a race-correctness. Tough, until the gender candidate did a little racial attacking; point tipped.

What can the market learn from this? Be careful about your face-offs? Know what people really think you stand for?

Let's take Google vs. a possible Microsoft-Yahoo combo. Let's forget for a minute that Microsoft is like the Giuliani candidate; we respect them, someone might actually love them, but for the most part, they're so last year.

Can anyone really take on Google? Do they have a tipping point loaded against them?

Of course, they are not running for office, but we vote with our clicks.

So here's the question – and there's a free iBreakfast in it for anyone with a good answer – what would make the market tip against Google?

My guess is that it's something that lets more people keep the money Google generates from its clicks.

Personal outsourcing at a click. More wisdom of crowd solutions……

We're going to find out at our next iBreakfast when we look at solutions that ask the world to help companies find tipping points against big problems that face them. They could be science problems, they could be ad problems, or maybe even the next big hit. But in all cases they will be about using the net and the collective wisdom of crowds to figure it out….

Look out for our "Wikinomics - Idea Markeptlaces" iBreakfast in March