Zeitgeist Information A Zeitgeist Movement general information site

2Jul/100

Power Law and scarcity

I came across some interesting articles on the Power Law of distribution.

For those not aware, a power law distribution looks like the image below :

POWER LAW GRAPH
300px-Long_tail.svg.png

If you can't see the image then look at the associated Wikipedia article.
A power law is also sometimes called the 80/20 rule and is known in the media industry for the long tail effect that online video has allowed.
The power law can be used to model the number of words used in a text, the energy of earthquakes, links to a websites and much more.

As Matt Webb posits power laws arise due to scarcity.

Some other interesting rules and distributions :

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1%25_rule_(Internet_culture) -- The 90-9-1 rule. That 1% of people will create the content, 9% will edit it, and 90% will view the content without contributing. This is especially pertinent to ZM chapters and forum admins.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle -- The 80/20 rule is also known as the Pareto principle and states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. e.g 80% of the sales comes from 20% of your clients, 80% of peas come from only 20% of pea pods, and the one that a lot of us know : 80% of the wealth is controlled by 20% of the population.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_distribution -- A normal distribution is also known as a Bell curve and is a great way of plotting distributions around a point, such as IQ, height, preferences, even spare HDD space.bell1.gif

Possibly interesting books (which I haven't read yet) :

--
Michael Kubler

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