The Matthew Effect, such as to describe why some excellent partners accumulate even more good clients

A verse from Matthew in the Gospels says “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance.” Some people refer to the Matthew Effect where skills and ability beget wealth, and more wealth, such as well-favored law firms getting more and more high-value work. This teaching and term comes from Len Fisher, The Perfect Swarm: The science of complexity in everyday life (Basic Books 2009) at 121. In-house, a smart lawyer who works hard gets more opportunities, shines more, gets promoted, gains more recognition and the beneficent spiral continues.

A vendor whose package breaks away from the pack may continue to widen the gap as the Matthew Effect kicks in – more users, more R&D, better marketing, and the road to market dominance clears. In a fanciful moment I even applied the Matthew Effect to blogs, inasmuch as the better ones attract more readers, comments, sponsors, and attention. In our competitive world, the good often get better and pull away to dominate as the winner takes nearly all (See my post of April 26, 2006: Internal Labor Model depicts tournament; Nov. 13, 2007: network benefits can build to winner-take-all; March 16, 2008: lawyers in a top-dog competition; April 22, 2008: struggle for promotion will lead to cognitive enhancers; Nov. 19, 2008: jostling, in-house lawyers will spend freely; and Nov. 13, 2010: drugs that enhance cognitive ability will be used because of tournament mentality.).

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