Seth Godin's The Dip

I noticed Permission Marketing on Geno's Shelf. I've been reading Seth Godin's Blog - the author of Permission Marketing - for about six months and asked Geno if he thought Permission Marketing was the best book Seth Godin has written. Geno Moscetti owns all Seth's books and thinks Purple Cow and The Dip are his best.

Geno is from a financial services background, something different from my own. I surround myself with smart people, from diverse backgrounds, who's opinions I respect. I think I can learn more by having a diverse set of friends. When friends suggest books to read, I do. I love learning from other's mentors.

I've heard of Purple Cow but not The Dip so I decided to read it first.

The Dip is what separate's the best in the world from everyone else. When you decide to try something new it's exciting. You get instant feedback which makes you feel good. As you continue learning, there is a shift. The activity starts becoming difficult. This is what Seth calls the Dip.

The Dip separates the beginners from the masters and can either be natural or created. Examples of Dips include organic chemistry (created), the bar exam (created), job prerequisites (natural), and become a professional athlete (natural).

Tbe Dip

Seth markets the Dip as a little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick).

Dips deter people from becoming experts. But, people spend time - our most limited resource - focusing on the wrong activiteis. Seth addresses these by introducing two other curves. The Cul-de-Sac and the Cliff.

The Cul-de-Sac - French for dead end - represents an activity that no matter how hard you work, you aren't getting anywhere.

The Cliff has no dip. The more you work, the better you get. But, at the end, there is a fall off. Activities which look like cliffs don't deter people. Since there is no challenge, everyone can become and expert. Thus diminishing the value of the activity.

Seth argus anything worth doing has a dip. The other two curves represent markets and activities that aren't worth focusing on. Abandon activietes that look like Cul-de-Sac or Cliff curves.

There are times when you want to abandon activities that have dips too. Seth suggests identifying all activities, you're working on, that have dips. Then ask: What will happen if you continue with these activities? Will you become an expert? Are you willing to slog through the difficulty of the dip? If not, drop it.

But understand, getting through the dip is hard. Only the people who want to be the best, lean into the dip and get through it. At the end of the book, Seth gives some questions to ask yourself. Here is an abbreviate list:

  • Is this a Dip, a Cliff, or a Cul-de-Sac?
  • If it's a Cul-de-Sac, how can I change it into a Dip?
  • Is my persistence going to pay off in the long run?
  • When should I quit? I need to decide now, not when I'm in the middle of it, and not when part of me is begging to quit.
  • If I quit this task, will it increase my ability to get through the Dip on something more important?
  • If I'm going to quit anyway, is there something dramatic I can do instead that might change the game?

Let me know if you found the review helpful. If you've read The Dip, what resonated with you?

Written: January 13, 2013

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