Why being at the end of the line sucks (or What are the economics of the Long Tail?)

Just happened to be doing a little surfing and catching up on blog reading - and ran across an interesting entry by Mark Cubin about the Long Tail. It's interesting for two reasons....
  1. It's sandwiched between some serious rants about GooTube (he's not a fan) and how wonderful the NBA is right now (of course it's always fun to own a professional sports team).
  2. He brings up some interesting points about Long Tail dynamics - as in, it's great to be in line, but it's really great to be in the front of the line. Or get to wag the tail as it were.

Now, since he brought up the issue, I have to make sure I get my two cents in the mix. I agree with the basic premise of the Long Tail - that there are niches out there for almost anything. But no one aspires to be at the end of the line - Only Steve Martin (in the movie "The Jerk") gets excited because his name is in the phone book. Being the leader of the "niche of one" won't get you any parades through downtown.

But when do you move from the being the tail, to being the dog? That's Mark's question - and I thinks it's a good one.


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