Seth Godin The Dip
Date Published: 20 June 2011
I picked up The Dip by Seth Godin a while back and thought I’d post my thoughts on it. It’s a quick read, at only 80 pages or so. I’m generally a fan of Seth’s books, and I enjoyed this one. His style is entertaining to read, and the book was worth the < $10 it cost on Amazon. The key takeaway from this book is that when you hit the hard part of any activity you’re pursuing, you determine whether it’s worth it to push through to the end goal. He makes a good point that winners know when it makes sense to quit, and basically choose their battles. One of the principles of software development that I try to adhere to is to fail fast, which I think is similar in intent. Minimize the time and effort spent on the wrong paths (by quitting) so you can find and maximize the effort spent on the most valuable course of action.
Seth also spends a bit of time up front explaining the asymmetrical value being the best has (and thus why you should strive for it). The market rewards the best far more than any second or third place entrant. Thus, you should do whatever you can to be the best at what you’re passionate about. The key to doing this has two parts. First, you need to be willing to get through “the dip” in becoming the best in your chosen category. Second, you need to choose a category in which you feel you can become the best. If you’re a software developer (as most of my readers tend to be), it might not be realistic for you to want to be known as the best software developer in the world. I’m not even sure who that might be. But it would certainly be attainable for you to become the most widely recognized authority on a particular technology, if you chose to focus all of your energy on that pursuit. Likewise, if you’re marketing a product, you can ensure that your product can be the best in its category by carefully choosing what that category is, and then focusing all of your marketing and features on being the best in that space.
It’s an enjoyable read. I’d give it 4 stars.
Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.