and why they bring me such delight.
After a giddy few months of riding the Dopamine Rollercoaster that are reader stats and earnings, I finally decided to retire peacefully into simply watching for comments from readers.
After all, if they not only spent time reading my screeds all the way through but then felt it worth a few extra clicks to write complete sentences, they deserved my time and attention.
Here are three of the most delightful comments I’ve received — though I believe only one of them is intended as such.
Mr. Math and the Appeal to Authority
3 Big Problems with the 80/20 Rule
The darling emperor of the productivity pundits has no clothes
In response to this piece, Simon Clifford took it upon himself to explain why I was wrong:
I’d have another little look at the conditions and requirements for use of the principle — you can’t throw it at anything you can count. While you’re researching the science and mathematics of probability distributions of decisions influenced by human behaviour (of which the Pareto Principle is an example), see what you can find showing the contrasting behaviour of Gaussian and non Gaussian distributions. In particular consider the effect of Galton’s “regression to the mean” (for Gaussian distributions) and regression to the tail (for non-Gaussian distributions) and I think you’ll discover something quite astonishing about the effects of human behaviour on the allocation of resources, which is, of course, why the 80/20 rule is so significant and not merely an arithmetic oddity, as you propose.
When I read this, I can’t help but hear it in an Oxford accent.
Unfortunately, I only barely made it through Algebra 2 in college, and never got introduced to Galton (and all I know of Gauss is the neat little blur he makes in Photoshop).
I’m going to give a generous reading to this and thank Mr. Clifford for presuming that either understood or had time to explore the regressed tails and astonishing effects of human behaviour on any number of things.