One of the most powerful memes making the rounds these days is "The Long Tail", popularized by Chris Anderson at Wired. As Chris describes it, the Long Tail refers to a new economic model enabled by the Internet that makes it profitable to connect niche content with consumers seeking that content. Chris is writing a book on this topic and he's sharing his ongoing thinking on this topic at his excellent blog The Long Tail.
Joe Kraus, one of the founders of Excite, has picked up on the theme of the Long Tail and applied it to software in his own blog. Joe's got more than a passing interest in this - his new company Jotspot is developing a wiki-like platform to address the Long Tail opportunity in software. (A good review of Jotspot by a beta tester is available here) It's an interesting notion, although I think his focus on business processes is missing the boat. The real opportunity for Jotspot and other software platforms like it is to address exception-handling, those events that business process rules and procedures can't support. To do this effectively, Jotspot will need to become an open platform supporting a broad range of third party software, an interesting evolution of the wiki concept. JSB and I talk about the significant business impact of exception-handling in our new book, The Only Sustainable Edge.
Btw, Joe uses the Long Tail to call into question the 80/20 rule in business, something Chris tends to do as well. I am more skeptical about this, but I'll have to save it for another posting.