Posted on February 10, 2016 | By Martin Lindstrom

Small Data: Malcolm Gladwell’s Advice to Me

My newest book was born 4 years ago in Zambia. Malcolm Gladwell, author of Tipping Point and Outliers, and I were watching giraffes and elephants on the savannah and exchanging thoughts on my next book.

Malcolm told of an urban legend that captured my imagination. In 1960, JFK single-handedly killed the hat industry by being the first President not to wear a hat to his inauguration. The hat industry started to decline shortly thereafter, prompting many to believe he was the cause of death. In reality, Kennedy did wear a hat en-route to the ceremony, but he removed it before taking the podium. Malcolm said it was a tiny move that caused a groundswell. In this case, it started a fashion revolution.

His words sparked a fire in my mind. If such a little detail could cause such a transformation, what other seemingly minor details are changing the world?

Since 2005, I’ve visited more than 2,000 consumers’ homes, across some 77 different countries, in order to not only prove that theory, but to understand what it takes to create huge transformations. I learned that Malcolm was spot on and that this theory represents an amazing wealth of insights, never discussed or researched before.

I call this phenomena Small Data. It’s the tiny clues that uncover huge trends and can lead to the foundation for breakthrough ideas or transformative ways of turning around brands. It’s also the title of my new book.

Small Data is closer to my heart than any other book I’ve ever written, which is the why, for the first time ever, I’m offering everyone who pre-orders the book a special gift. It’s more of a story, than a business book, taking you behind the scenes as I travel the world discovering Small Data in places you’d never imagine, drawing parallels between observations and insights in ways even a hard core detective would find intriguing.

But if you’ve ever written anything, you’ll also know that you can’t squeeze everything into one narrative. So, I created a two-part video series, taking you though the Small Data methodology step by step, in ways not covered in the book. This is a highly practical video series where I explain how you collect Small Data, interpret and translate it all into a new brand or product.

This nearly 1-hour video series will not be available for purchase. You can only get it by pre-ordering the book. Small Data is out 23rd February, so you only have a couple of days left before this special offer vanishes. Go to to order your book and register for the video series.

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