Decoding popularity: Why successful people don't try appealing to everyone's tastes

History is littered with thousands of things that tried to appeal to everyone and yet failed miserably. If you want true success, try to appeal to a core group.

Senior Editor of The Atlantic, Derek Thompson, boils down the science of popularity. He suggests that the best way to reach as many people as possible is to appeal to their inherent outsider nature. Since the cultural mainstream is so fractured, you have to understand that - at best - you're going to reach perhaps 3% to 5% of people. Because out of 240 million Americans, just 4% of that is 9.6 million people. Derek posits that perhaps creators shouldn't appeal to the masses. Instead, he suggests, they should appeal to the niche. Derek Thompson's latest book is Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction.

The Science of Popularity Shows Why Hit-Making Is So Hit-and-Miss

The causes of hit products are themselves uncausable. 'Hit Makers' by Derek Thompson explains why we know how to make songs, but not hits.

 

Illustration by Julia Suits, The New Yorker cartoonist & author of The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions

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