The Heretic Logo


The Heretic is a free bi-weekly dispatch delivering insights into leadership in exponential times. For entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers. Raw, unfiltered and opinionated.

be radical.
Disrupt Disruption
Build What Matters

Jun 20th, 2015

Pareto Principle vs Crap

The Pareto Principle states that for many events about 80% of the effects/results come from 20% of the causes/effort.

In all my life I found the Pareto Principle to be true most of the time and my one lighthouse principle. It prevents me from optimizing for edge cases where it’s not necessary; it allows me to say no to 80% of the stuff which doesn’t move the needle; it frees me from pushing for perfection when good enough is all that is needed.

Sometimes I find people misinterpreting the Pareto Principle though — they put in 1% of the effort and expect to get close to 80% of the result. Which is far from the truth — you typically end up with a pile of crap.

The whole Lean Startup movement’s obsession with MVPs (Minimum Viable Product) seems to exaggerate that notion (note though that it’s about building a Minimum Viable Product — and viability often requires 20% effort, not 1%).

There is no reward without work. The Pareto Principle is not a cop out for not skipping the work — it’s all about being smart.

1,162 Posts and Counting.
Don't miss the next post. Sign up now!