Kawasaki and the Wrong Tale
Reading Guy’s column makes obvious that Chris Anderson's The Long Tail is a the basis for marketing and distribution company, not a product company. Indeed, the key idea is that failed products in aggregate make valuable inventory provided that the market remains inefficient for everyone but you to aggregate and sell them. What the Internet enables is an extraordinarily efficient mechanism for enabling long-tail activities.
That said, I think the long tail is a more interesting idea culturally than economically. It argues that a diversity of memes rather than a few blockbuster memes will set the next-generation social context. I am not sure I believe this, but I do agree that the long tail makes it a possibility, something that our mass communication economy never could.
The reason I am not wildly enthusiastic about the economics of the long tail is that I think the market will become efficient over time, there being few barriers to entry, so that distribution power will dissipate. So if you have low distribution power in the future, and low product power in the present, it is hard to get excited about capturing economic returns from the model.