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The Dip

Ten years ago, in 2007, I published a book called The Dip. I chronicled much of the launch and some of the lessons of the book in this limited-edition blog.

Since its publication, it has sold hundreds of thousands of copies around the world. It was a NY Times bestseller for four weeks, and people tell me that page for page, it changed them more than any other book I’ve written.

I’ve kept the blog as is, a time capsule of that idea, one that still resonates…

This is my blog about my new book, The Dip.

Updates and news and riffs are on the posts below. A podcast, here. The charts are here.

The Dip

Big profits from quitting in Australia

Paul points us to this interview: Inside Business – 29/04/2007: ANZ posts impressive first-half profits.

The money quote:

ALAN KOHLER, PRESENTER: […]  Well, John MacFarlane, you’re saying that Asia is hot, which of course it is, and that ANZ is moving early to position yourself there. But you actually moved out early, didn’t you, by selling Grindleys in 2000.  In fact Friday is the seventh anniversary of the sale of Grindleys, so doesn’t what you’re doing now in Asia basically represent an admission that that was a mistake?
JOHN MCFARLANE: Everything in its time. If we had not sold Grindleys when we sold it we would not be as successful in Australia and New Zealand as we are today, I can assure you of that.
ALAN KOHLER: Why is that?
JOHN MCFARLANE: Focus is everything in business and Grindleys was a distraction for us. It occupied more than half our management time, more than half our board time and contributed nine per cent of our profits. And it was the wrong part of the world.

The Dip

Where do you get stuck?

John pitches in on the Dip from about.com: Podcasting: Radio Reinvented.

I’ve already been profoundly affected by it, if the measure of "profound" is that I’ve begun changing my behavior. Many times while reading through this, I resonated with the idea of knowing when to quit as also being the ability to say no. Not just to specific projects or even people, but to behavior that tends to lead me down a rabbit hole where I don’t get anything accomplished. I’m actually really good at time management (I work from home and had to learn to do so effectively out of self-preservation) but having the idea of ‘the dip’ elucidated so well has really helped me.

The Dip


Lookupinthesky My favorite image of the moment.

This still from my favorite TV show growing up (have you figured it out yet?) represents the imperative that we all have in creating the remarkable, the thing that people consider the best in the world.

The person pointing wasn't paid to do so. He did it because he wanted to.

The people looking aren't looking because they care about Superman. They're looking because everyone else is looking.

As our society gets more connected, it is also getting more fragmented. You can find just about anything online, billions of tiny niches. But the niches that turn a profit are the ones that attract a crowd, that establish themselves as the best in the world. Just another word for remarkable.

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?

The Dip

Two (and a half) more Dip reviews

Here’s a brief interview with TheStreet.com. Small businesses are beginning to see the value of extraordinary specialization and significant overdelivery. Witness headblade.com.

And also, a harsh review in Ad Age. As Ray points out, the reviewers there didn’t get the book at all. That’s okay, it’s the risk I take with a book like this. Matt was disappointed that I didn’t outline the ‘answers.’ I think that’s awfully hard to do at a distance. But he underestimates how important it is to know what the questions are.

The Dip

Phoenix/Tempe, the morning of May 24

You can get registration info here.

And the original petition site is here.

Thanks! (One more left to formally announce).

The Dip

Now shipping: the abridged CD version

B&N jumped the gun, the abridged audio edition is just $5.00 on their site.

The Dip

Ann Arbor May 22nd

Yes, Derek and the gang near Detroit pulled it off: Seth Godin – May 22nd.

The Dip

The Guy Kawasaki Interview

Can’t wait until his next book comes out, hopefully this decade! Guy’s interview is right here.

The Dip

Silicon Valley Speaking Gig Added

I’m delighted that we’re doing a public Dip gig in Silicon Valley. Wednesday, May 23 at 5 pm. The details are here.  An overview and three more cities to be announced in the next few days.