It looks like we are shifting from a Gaussian world to a Paretian one, or so claims John Hagel on a recent article titled “The Power of the Power Laws”.
“Here’s the problem (or opportunity). Gaussian distributions tend to prevail when events are completely independent of each other. As soon as you introduce the assumption of interdependence across events, Paretian distributions tend to surface because positive feedback loops tend to amplify small initial events. For example, the fact that a website has a lot of links increases the likelihood that others will also link to this website.”
This discussion is also relevant when we talk about what Chris Anderson defined “The Long Tail”. Make sure to read the article, it is quite interesting.