Thursday, August 28, 2008

Alpha Review: The Dip by Seth Godin

What is The Dip?
Lets take learning Ping Pong for example, it is a fun game and it is pretty easy to pick up, but probably very hard to master and beat the Chinese to win a gold medal in Olympics.

Thus, we have the Dip curve. Initially we have some success and fun by putting in some effort, and then we found it hard to be excellent or to be the national champion. From here, we could either quit or push in through long hours with a lot of determination and preservation to reach the top, being the best in the world.

The Dip is a Gate to keep Mediocre People Out

The Dip is “the slog between starting something and mastering it”. Most things are easy to learn, but difficult to master. It’s pretty easy to be a shoe maker, but not everyone is Jimmy Choo. It probably takes passion, talent, luck and a long period of determination and preservation for Jimmy Choo to succeed. If it is so damn easy, everyone would have been Jimmy Choo. It’s the scarcity and hardship which make it valuable and sweet. Every year more and more people would quit; and those who hold on and finally move on stage shall reap the reward.

Knowing when to Quit
If you can’t be one of the best, perhaps you should focus on something you could. Just like iPod probably had cross the Dip for MP3 market, Wii had won the Gaming Console market and Toyota triumph the Car marker. Should Linux quite the consumer OS market, or should Microsoft give up on the Search market? The Dip is something like the Chasm, it need to be crossed; too long in the hole consume resources and achieving mediocre.

Zipf's Law

There is a vast different between number 1 and the rest. The number 1 Operating System in the world got 90% of the market share, and the number 1 search engine is having 80% marker share. There is a vast difference between number 1 and number 2. So it’s important to be in the first place to gain distinctive advantage; besides, no one remember who is second.

All Kind of Graph

Besides the Dip, there is Cul-De-Sac (dead end, remain stagnant for time to come) and Cliff (pass it peaks and going down hill). So you need to indentify what graph are you in, and whether to quit or push on. Knowing the Dip could be tricky; either you quite too early or you might be fighting a lost course.

The Dip aka Crossing the Charm aka Blue Ocean Strategy?
I think the underlying foundation is pretty much the same. Find a niche (or create one) market, be the best in the niche, and use this as the base to conquer other markets. If you can’t be the king of search, then be the king of pornography search (and you can be sure Google won’t venture there officially).

PS: Nowadays is pretty hard to find a good read. So many books, so little gems. Alpha Review = I read the first 50 pages at the book stores and found it interesting, and Google the rest.

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