The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
Whilst I haven’t read what is potentially a very insightful book by Gladwell, the few excerpts I’ve digested actually opened my eyes to all sorts of tipping points around me. In Nigeria, over 20 years ago, if you wanted to purchase drinking water or table water it was usually sold in a plastic bottle e.g. Swan, Ragolis, etc. But a wise entrepreneur realized that this option was neither easily affordable for the average Nigerian consumer, nor was it cost-effective for just any manufacturer to produce. He decided to sell treated tap water in small transparent bags for a tenth of the price of bottled water. Skeptics thought this business venture would be short-lived. Fast forward to present day and the product commonly known as ‘pure water’ is here to stay. It has revolutionized packaged water production, with over 4 million pure water companies registered yearly and sales of
N7 billion…daily! (tribune.com).
Another example of a tipping point can be found in the smartphone industry, more specifically with regards to Blackberry. Blackberry handsets surfaced Nigeria in the early nineties and were sported by the elite few. Nokia, Samsung and Motorolla were kings then. However by the time smartphones became the in-thing, Research In Motion (RIM) in conjunction with mobile phone network providers did something amazing with the Blackberry – Instant messaging via Blackberry Messenger (BBM). To put things into better perspective, the average Nigerian was more likely to accumulate an expense of N10,000 in a month from buying recharge/top-up/airtime vouchers. Compare that to spending a fixed sum of N1,500 a month and being able to chat 24/7 with all your Blackberry contacts. Interestingly, 95% of Nigerian BlackBerry users take advantage of BlackBerry Messenger which is a lot higher than the global average (Crackberry.com).
One more instance I’d like to refer to is that of a friend who first started posting amusing notes on his Facebook profile for a small audience. In less than a year he started to run his blog and three years later published his first book which he made available worldwide, online. That, in my opinion, was the tipping point for the Crazy Nigerian 😉