How Hits Happen: Forecasting Predictability in a Chaotic Marketplace

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9780887309786: How Hits Happen: Forecasting Predictability in a Chaotic Marketplace

How does a movie like titanic captivate the public eye and break box office  records everywhere? Why is Tickle Me Elmo on every kid's Christmas list one year- and replaced by Ferbies the following year? Managers and marketing gurus have long struggled to predict why some new products are instant hits, and why others fail miserably.  Now, in this groundbreaking study, Winslow Farrell applies the science of complexity theory to modern business problems.  He reveals how actions of computer-generated "customers" that shop, go to movies, listen to music, and form cliques shed light on consumer behavoir in the natural world.  Motivated by the same factors as humans-product placement, popularity, advertising, or simple preferneces-their purchases are a powerful indicator of what's a hit..or a flop.  As he reveals the findings of this incredible technology, Farell offers valuable lessons to managers in any real-life industry, and revolutionary, near perfect business model for predicting the next big thing.

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Review:

How is it that certain sites become the superstars of the World Wide Web? What makes Internet-based stores and services, such as America Online, burst into public consciousness? The process is the same, Farrell explains, as that which took Hootie and the Blowfish from bar band to supergroup at record speed or made Beanie Babies the national craze.

Farrell shows how social interactions create hits, both online and off. Better yet, he demonstrates how computer models are using the mathematics of complexity theory to help predict the hit or flop potential of new ideas, products, and services. What makes the models so fascinating is that they behave as groups of individual consumers, running in simulated communities inside the computer, approximating the reactions of their flesh-and-blood counterparts.

While the principles here apply to the entire world of business, they are particularly essential for those who wish to create an audience or customer base on the Internet, where the hit-creating (and preventing) forces seem to be particularly volatile. And while Farrell makes it clear that hits cannot be manufactured on demand, he is able to provide good advice on tactics, which can swing the odds more in your favor. --Elizabeth Lewis

About the Author:

Winslow Farrell is a partner with Coopers & Lybrand consulting L.L.P., where he leads the Emergent Solutions Group. His team utilizes the sciences of complexity and adaptive agent technology to create virtual worlds where clients in various industries can test strategic plans. Farrell's work has been featured in a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Business Week. He lives in Westport, Connecticut, with his wife and two daughters.

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