Do you maybe feel offended by my article because I’ve touched on an idea that’s important to you?

Here’s what Tim wrote:

The mathematical formula he used to demonstrate a grossly uneven but predictable distribution of wealth in society — 80% of the wealth and income was produced and possessed by 20% of the population — also applied outside of economics. Indeed, it could be found almost everywhere. Eighty percent of Pareto’s garden peas were produced by 20% of the peapods he had planted, for example.

Pareto’s Law can be summarized as follows: 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. Alternative ways to phrase this, depending on the context, include:

80% of the consequences flow from 20% of the causes.
80% of the results come from 20% of the effort and time.
80% of company profits come from 20% of the products and customers.
80% of all stock market gains are realized by 20% of the investors and 20% of an individual portfolio.

The list is infinitely long and diverse, and the ratio is often skewed even more severely: 90/10, 95/5, and 99/1 are not uncommon, but the minimum ratio to seek is 80/20.


The end result? I went from chasing and appeasing 120 customers to simply receiving large orders from 8, with absolutely no pleading phone calls or e-mail haranguing. My monthly income increased from $30K to $60K in four weeks and my weekly hours immediately dropped from over 80 to approximately 15. Most important, I was happy with myself and felt both optimistic and liberated for the first time in over two years.

Sounds a lot like less work for me. Here are some quotes from around Medium across the years to back up how the principle is perceived:

Less Is More

Is it possible that by spending less time learning one thing and more time flexibly weaving between subjects, that not only do we find ourselves more able to adapt to the changes that will come, but that we’ll actually learn more?

Perhaps. If it’s correct, then certainly 80 percent of 5 subjects is more than 100 percent of 1.

But, applying the 20% rule, we don’t need to understand all topics at a detailed level. An awareness of where and when to apply concepts is critically important — you can then figure it out when you have to go more in-depth.

Follow the 80/20 rule.

Focus on the 20% of operations that yield the greatest results. Get rid of the 80% that hold you back.

For me — and for Push — that means identifying the 20% of the business tasks that are most important, and leaving the remaining 80% for the staff. Or getting rid of it all together.

It’s not about what it means. It’s about how it’s perceived. By the way, I think none of these people are wrong. It’s just that when that perception of Pareto sticks, it might become an operating system they default to, even when the current obstacle requires full focus on all details.

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