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(Read the text in the notes panel at the bottom for narration). A problem with the Long Tail. (Although an amazing number of things are powerlaws, a lot of things aren’t. How can you tell the difference?). A powerlaw. Shown another way. WTF?. The Missing Market. Source: Morris Rosenthal.

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Presentation Transcript
a problem with the long tail

(Read the text in the notes panel at the bottom for narration)

A problem with the Long Tail

(Although an amazing number of things are powerlaws, a lot of things aren’t. How can you tell the difference?)

examples of phenomena that follow powerlaw distributions
Examples of phenomena that follow powerlaw distributions
  • Species distribution among plants
  • Square footage of Alaskan Inuit homes
  • Forest fires, by size
  • Cities, by population
  • Death toll in wars
  • Earthquakes
  • Word use
  • Number of papers published by scientists
examples of phenomena that follow lognormal distributions
Examples of phenomena that follow lognormal distributions
  • Concentration of elements in the earth's crust
  • Latent periods of infectious diseases
  • Survival times after cancer diagnosis
  • Distribution of chemicals in the environment (including pollution)
  • Species distribution among moths and diatoms
  • Crystals in ice cream
  • Length of words in spoken conversation
what s the difference
What’s the difference?

Powerlaws: created by “preferential attachment” in scale-free networks.

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Lognormal distributions: created by "proportionate effects" (like growing by a proportion of your weight).
question
Question

Assuming it all comes down to network effects, how can you predict whether the “natural shape” (free of bottlenecks and other scarcity distortions) is a powerlaw or a lognormal distribution?