The extraordinary benefits of knowing when to quit (and when to stick)
The dip is a book by Seth Godin about making decisions using quitting architecture. Our dads always say: quitting is for losers. However, stopping is what gets you ahead of the game when done strategically. Seth names a few situations which can be a cul-de-sac/dead-end, such as you called a prospect a dozen times or can’t get a product to catch on. These are activities where influence wasn’t enough; the dip is too steep. At this point, most people are considering quitting.
Ask yourself one question when you’re making decisions:
Is it a dead-end, or is it a dip? If it is a dead-end – stop immediately or even before your start. If it is a dip, plan in steps to get through it.
The 80/20 principle
I very much enjoyed this small book. One simple idea which is so obvious, but reading it is refreshing. It is the 80/20 principle: stop wasting time in activities that are not going anywhere and refocus your time and efforts on activities that show progress. ‘The dip’ is experienced in many processes, such as creative sessions. In a creative session, the dip is the point where you can’t come up with any more obvious answers, and you start to say ‘random’ stuff. After this random stuff, you begin to think of new possibilities to solve a problem.
Another example is Uber. A disruptive company gets much resistance from the taxi industry because anyone with a car can participate, causing lower rates. In Europe, this service was not allowed to protect taxi drivers and customers. Uber is expanding their horizon with delivery services such as Christmas trees and kittens. They are forced to quite one path and decide to expand. It is a good decision, also looking at Google’s interest in robots and cars that can drive themselves to a destination. The long-term value of Uber isn’t their service. It is their database of people who want stuff now and are willing to pay for it.