The Long Tail of entrepreneurship – the fountain of hope

Image from Wikipedia article of ‘Ouroboros‘.

In these times when everyone is weeping for the fall of our old prophets and idols, large mastodons like Nokia [which of course always interests us Finnish people the most in this small country] I thought I’d remind everone of the agility that the form ‘small’ has.

The trouble that most large companies have, is that they are large. It’s not always easy to be big, I should know. I’m 190 cm and hitting my head all the time to everywhere. When there’s something potentially hazardous for my head, I most definitely get another bump.

I’ve finally got the time and must to read the book The Long Tail by Chris Anderson [review coming in the future as I finish it] and because of it and one article I read this morning – yes from that same business daily I disliked yesterday [I don’t hold a grudge for long] – I began to ponder the difference and impact small business’ can overall make for the economy.

We’re always fond of looking how the big players are doing, and automatically believe that they make the most difference. If their game is going badly, we tend to believe everything else is falling apart. But like we’ve seen in these troubling times, when all eggs are in the same basket the effect is huge when the basket gets broken.

Instead of looking what the mega corporations are doing, we should turn our eyes down, to the microsystem of the business field. One point in the theory of the Long Tail is that it isn’t that important if things are small and won’t make as much revenue than the big ones, but when there’s a large sum of these small operators, like bees in a hive, they together can raise a big wave.

So if one giant crumbles, we still can have the small, many times very innovative players out there who are agile, passionate in creating something new and never seen before. They can be one cure to hold up the economical backbone when the money filled bowls of the big ones are spilling.

The form ‘large’ isn’t always that practical: look what happened to dinosaurs, or to Soviet Union [ok, they had other problems too].

As the times go by, could we have an inverted Ouroboros, the tail devouring the head instead? If the business system is always recreating itself in cycles, doesn’t it somewhat mean that we’re not learning from the lessons we should, and the change isn’t that large after all?


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