May 27th, 2008
A “critical mass” is an important term to understand. I believe it was first used in physics but it also comes up often in a business context.
A critical mass is basically the smallest amount of something you need before a major change occurs. Don’t worry, I don’t blame you if you are still confused. Here are some examples:
Think about the discussion forum of this website. I’ve been thinking about ways to make it more popular. You’ve probably noticed that people don’t post very often at the moment. Since this is true it will make a new user less likely to sign up and make a post. Why? Because they can see that there is a good chance that no one will comment on their post. If the forum was more popular, it would attract more users. The biggest problem is that we haven’t reached our “critical mass” of users yet. I’m not sure what that magic number is, but I’m sure you can imagine that once the forum reaches a certain level of popularity, then it will grow quickly by itself. If the forum remains below the critical mass, then not much will happen. A critical mass is basically the magic number that causes a major turning point.
Epidemics (major diseases that spread throughout a population) need to reach a “critical mass” before they can really spread. Scientists know that if a certain percentage of the population gets a disease (the critical mass) then the disease will spread throughout much of the population. This is why it often seems like many people catch a cold at the same time. If many other people have a cold, the more likely you are to catch it.
People in business know how important it is to have many people know about their product. The more people who know about a product the more friends they can tell about this product. This is one reason that advertising is so important. Sometimes having the best product is much less important than having a popular product in terms of making money.
Hopefully China232.com reaches a critical mass soon and everyone knows about us.