The Dip

The real 80/20 rule

We’ve all heard variations on Pareto’s law. 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. You get 80% of your media awareness from 20% of your buy. 80% of your grades come from 20% of the effort. Or, as Woody Allen would say, 80% of success is just showing up.

The Dip turns this thinking upside down. Since most organizations do the 20%, almost all the value you can create comes in the next 80% of the effort. Most organizations (and most people) settle for 20%, hit the Dip and move on to the next thing. A few people insist on devoting an unreasonable amount of effort into something. They cross the Dip and get rewarded handsomely for it.

A simple chart. Five companies do just enough, which is 20% effort. One overcommits and does the other 80%. Which would you choose? Who wouldn’t?