The 1% Rule
Note: This brief article was originally published in the author's own blog at DOUGLAS CASTLE, http://aboutdouglascastle.blogspot.com on 25 June 2009.
People (most of them self-professed pundits) are always citing the anecdotal wisdom of the "80 -20 Rule," which refers to the typical business situation where a mere 20% of your customers provide you with 80% of your business volume. It follows that a prudent business person should allocate 80% of his or her time on that critical 20%. Walking ahead just one more step, it would seem to me that it might truly be clever to focus more effort on segregating the 20% from the 80%, downsizing (I apologize for the dismal term) the 80% and building the 20% -- the ultimate result, if Murphy's Law and the Heisenberg Principle do not tamper with us too much, would be that the 20% would become our new 100%. Operating at optimal efficiency (which requires dispensing with the unfruitful investment of time in the 80%), we would then spend 100% of our time on the 100% of our customers who truly matter.
The inference in the 80-20 Rule is that the minority produces the majority of our wealth, and that they are of greater significance to us.
There is also a "Two Percent Rule," which refers to the belief that approximately 2% of the world's population (a very small, very powerful group, apparently) controls 98% of its wealth. The implications are obvious...as are the results.
Without making any value judgment, and just making an observation, I believe that both of the above rules are basically sound, albeit somewhat imprecise statistically.
But those rules are not the drivers in the limo of my current life: No, I would have to say that the Rule that affects me the most is the "1% Rule" [which will be referred to as "THE ONE PERCENT RULE" by both my detractors and by my twelfth-grade Creative Writing Teacher immediately after the release of this article].
My friend and business partner, Adam J. Kovitz, and I were discussing many wonderful upgrades to THE NATIONAL NETWORKER, and my role in mapping out and orchestrating many of these substantial changes. Adam's compliment to me was that I was a "One Percenter." He had used this expression on numerous occasions. I now understand it well enough to give it a definition. Following is the Rule, which I attribute jointly to Adam and myself...
THE ONE PERCENT RULE: Approximately One Percent of all Human Beings create and construct, while the remaining Ninety Nine Percent criticize and destroy. In sum, it is so much easier to be a critic and a complainer than it is to be a problem-solver, that most among us are virtually programmed (by our propensity toward inertia and indolence) to be critics and complainers, while only a few among us defy our baser instincts and actually create, build and problem-solve. To make matters worse, the special 1% is generally acknowledged and praised posthumously, i.e., following a crucifixion, burning at the stake, suicide, and the like. To be a One Percenter may be a thankless job, but it is necessary to every step that Humankind advances. This tenacious 1% fights against Humankind's collective drive toward either stagnation or self-annihilation. And we spend so much of our time and resources trying to discourage or eliminate this pivotal component.
Are you a One Percenter? Take the matter up with your own conscience. The sooner, the better. Time is fleeting.
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