Derek Sivers

The Dip - by Seth Godin

The Dip - by Seth Godin

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Tiny quick read with a punchy point: Anything worth doing has a painfully-hard middle period, which is where most people quit. But knowing this in advance, ask yourself seriously if you really have the dedication to stick it through that hard time. If not, then don’t begin! Quit in advance! But if so, then expect that dark dip, and don’t quit when you’re in it. Read the whole book if this applies to you. There’s not a wasted page.

my notes

Quitting is often a great strategy, a smart way to manage your life and your career.
Winners quit the right stuff at the right time.

Most quit in their quest to be the best in the world because the cost just seemed too high.

When we say “best in the world” we mean:
“Best” = best for them, right now, based on what they believe and what they know.
“in the world” = their world, the world they have access to.
So if I’m looking for a freelance copy editor, I want the best copy editor in English, who’s available, who can find a way to work with me at a price I can afford.
That’s my best in the world.
If your micromarket is “organic markets in Tulsa,” then that’s your world.
Being the best in that world is the place to be.

If it is worth doing, there’s probably a dip.
The dip creates scarcity. Scarcity creates value.

There’s a dip in the long stretch between beginner’s luck and real accomplishment.
The people who invest the time, energy, and effort to power through the dip, become the best in the world.
They embrace the challenge.

Windsurfing is very easy - except for the wind.
The wind is unpredictable.
It’ll change exactly when you don’t want it to.
Accounting would be easy if every incoming report were accurate and on time.
Sales would be easy if it weren’t for the prospects not buying from you all the time.
Marketing would be easy if every prospect and customer thought the way you do.
The fact that it’s difficult and unpredictable works to your advantage.
Because if it were any other way, there’d be no profit in it.

When faced with the dip, many individuals and organizations diversify.
If you can’t get to the next level, the thinking goes, invest your energy in learning to do something else.
Hardworking, motivated people find diversification a natural outlet for their energy and drive.
Diversification feels like the right thing to do. (“Who knows? This might just be the one.”)
But the real success goes to those who obsess.

Before you enter a new market, consider what would happen if you managed to get through the dip and win in the market you’re already in.

Quitting requires you to acknowledge that you’re never going to be #1 in the world - at least not at this.
So it’s easier just to put it off, not admit it.

Weight training: you do a minute or two of work for no reason other than to tire out your muscle so that the last few seconds of work will cause that muscle to grow.
People who train successfully pay their dues for the first minute or two and then get all the benefits at the very end.
Unsuccessful trainers pay exactly the same dues but stop a few seconds too early.

Be a lot choosier about which journeys you start.
Know before you start whether or not you have the resources and the will to get to the end.
If you can’t make it through the dip, don’t start.
If you’re going to quit, quit before you start.
Don’t play the game if you realize you can’t be the best in the world.
Reject the system.

To be a superstar, find a field with a steep barrier between those who try and those who succeed.
Quit the projects and investments and endeavors that don’t offer you the same opportunity.

Seven reasons you might fail to become the best in the world:
* run out of time
* run out of money
* get scared
* not serious
* lose interest or enthusiasm or settle for being mediocre
* focus on the short term instead of the long
* pick the wrong thing at which to be the best

If you fail to become the best in the world, it’s either because you planned wrong or because you gave up before you reached your goal.

The manufacturing dip: easy and fun to start building something in your garage. Difficult and expensive to buy an injection mold, design an integrated circuit, or ramp up for large-scale production.

The sales dip: to upgrade to a professional sales force and scale it up.

The education dip: when it’s time to go learn something new, to reinvent or rebuild your skills.

The risk dip: Bootstrappers learn that they can’t pay for it all themselves. It takes a risk to rent a bigger space or invest in new techniques. The difference between investing to get through the dip (a smart move) or investing in something that’s actually a risky crapshoot.

The relationship dip: Invest the time and effort to work with people and organizations that can help you later. Invest in relationships back when it was difficult (but not urgent).

The conceptual dip: You got this far operating under one set of assumptions. Abandoning those assumptions and embracing a new, bigger set may be exactly what you need to do to get to the next level.

The ego dip: Giving up control and leaning into the organization

The distribution dip: Everyone is on the Web, but getting into Wal-Mart is hard.

The opposite of quitting is rededication - an invigorated new strategy designed to break the problem apart.

Short-term pain has more impact on most people than long-term benefits do.
That’s why it’s so important for you to amplify the long-term benefits of not quitting.
When people quit, they are often focused on the short-term benefits.

Lean into a problem.
Lean so far that you might just lean right through it.

If you move (companies, places), you get to reinvent yourself.
No one in the new place will remember you from ten years ago.
They’ll treat you as the new you, the you with an endless upside and little past.

Quitting as a short-term strategy is a bad idea.
Quitting for the long term is an excellent idea.

“Never Quit” was a bad piece of advice.
I think the advice-giver meant to say:
“Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.”

Hurting your pride is not fatal.

Quitting is not the same as panicking.
Panic is never premeditated.
Panic attacks us, it grabs us, it is in the moment.
Quitting when you’re panicked is dangerous and expensive.
The best quitters are the ones who decide in advance when they’re going to quit.
You can always quit later - so wait until you’re done panicking to decide.

Sergey Brin: “We knew that Google was going to get better every single day as we worked on it, and we knew that sooner or later, everyone was going to try it. So our feeling was that the later you tried it, the better it was for us because we’d make a better impression with better technology. So we were never in a big hurry to get you to use it today. Tomorrow would be better.”

Before quitting, ask yourself what measurable progress you’re making.
You’re either moving forward, falling behind, or standing still.
To stick with it in the absence of forward progress - is a waste.
It needs to be more than just “surviving is succeeding.”

Quitting a job doesn’t have to mean giving up.
A job is just a tactic, a way to get to what you really want.
As soon as your job hits a dead end, it makes sense to quit.

Before you start something, write down under what circumstances you’re willing to quit. And when. And then stick with it.