"If society is ready to embrace a trend, almost anyone can start one--and if it isn't, then almost no one can," Watts concludes. To succeed with a new product, it's less a matter of finding the perfect hipster to infect and more a matter of gauging the public's mood. Sure, there'll always be a first mover in a trend. But since she generally stumbles into that role by chance, she is, in Watts's terminology, an "accidental Influential."
Mind you, Watts does agree that some people are more instrumental than others. He simply doesn't think it's possible to will a trend into existence by recruiting highly social people. The network effects in society, he argues, are too complex--too weird and unpredictable--to work that way. If it were just a matter of tipping the crucial first adopters, why can't most companies do it reliably?