The starfish and the long tail have trouble getting along
We've all heard the parable of the kid throwing back the starfish, even though there are a million on the beach. "It makes a difference to that one!"
The Long Tail argues that if you can aggregate enough choices, people will make a choice and you'll do fine. Netflix, superstores, eBay–these are all long tail businesses. They might not sell that thing, but you can bet they're going to sell something.
Long tail businesses excel at selling anything, but they're not so good at selling one thing.
Which is fine, unless you're a starfish.
In a world of endless choice, it's mathematically obvious that something's going to get picked, but you, you the creator, the marketer, the one with something at stake–you're not at all concerned about something. You're concerned about you and your product.
If you're a starfish, then, don't sign up with the long tail guys. Build your own universe, your own permission asset. Find a tribe, lead it, connect with it, become the short head, the one and only, the one that we'd miss if you were gone.
The long tail is for organizations that own warehouses.