When a journalist uses the term "inflection point" to describe growth

In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of an "inflection point" in the context of Amazon's growth. While traditionally used to describe a change in a function's concavity, the term is being used colloquially to mean a significant shift or turning point. The speaker acknowledges the frustration of this misuse but ultimately concludes that it is a common occurrence and not worth getting upset over.
  • #1
571
83
I was reading an article about Amazon's growth hitting an "inflection point" where basically the function changed from going more or less linearly (i.e., power = 1) to a more parabolic (i.e., power > 1). It seems to me that this term is being misused since an inflection point really describes the point at which a function changes its concavity from down to up (or vice-versa). Ironically, an inflection point is precisely when the function is going linear (i.e., has a curvature of 0).
 
  • Like
Likes russ_watters
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
swampwiz said:
I was reading an article about Amazon's growth hitting an "inflection point" where basically the function changed from going more or less linearly (i.e., power = 1) to a more parabolic (i.e., power > 1). It seems to me that this term is being misused since an inflection point really describes the point at which a function changes its concavity from down to up (or vice-versa). Ironically, an inflection point is precisely when the function is going linear (i.e., has a curvature of 0).
You are getting hung up on a technical term being used in a colloquial English language way. That happens a lot and railing against it is useless regardless of how frustrating it can be when you know the correct technical definition.

Here's one that says "business" but it's really used more widely than that.

1571094261732.png
 
  • Like
Likes swampwiz and 256bits

1. What is an "inflection point"?

An inflection point is a term used to describe a significant change or turning point in a trend or pattern. In the context of growth, it refers to a moment when the rate of growth shifts from a slower pace to a faster pace or vice versa.

2. How is an inflection point different from a peak or a trough?

An inflection point differs from a peak or a trough in that it marks a change in the direction of a trend, rather than the highest or lowest point of the trend. In other words, an inflection point can occur at any point along a trend, while a peak or trough only occurs at the very top or bottom of a trend.

3. Can an inflection point be predicted?

While it is not always possible to predict an inflection point with certainty, there are certain indicators and data points that can help identify potential inflection points. For example, changes in consumer behavior, market trends, and technological advancements can all provide insights into potential inflection points.

4. How does an inflection point impact growth?

An inflection point can have a significant impact on growth as it marks a change in the rate of growth. Depending on the direction of the inflection point, growth can either accelerate or decelerate. It can also represent a shift in market dynamics, creating new opportunities or challenges for businesses.

5. Are there different types of inflection points?

Yes, there are several different types of inflection points, including positive, negative, and neutral. A positive inflection point represents a shift towards accelerated growth, while a negative inflection point represents a shift towards slower growth. A neutral inflection point indicates a change in direction but without a significant change in the rate of growth.

Suggested for: When a journalist uses the term "inflection point" to describe growth

Back
Top