Go, Pareto, Go!

Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) is credited with saying “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Someone else (we don’t know who) said, “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”

However, sometimes statistics and figures are useful.

Wilfried Pareto came up with the 80/20 rule which is not so much a rule as an observation, but it’s very handy. For example, you can get 80 percent of the work done with 20 percent effort. To accomplish the other 20 percent of the work, it will take 80 percent effort.

Think of painting the rooms inside of your house as 80 percent and not too difficult (20 percent effort). As you’re cleaning up afterward, your spouse decides that you also need to paint the ceilings, trim, doors, and inside the closets. That’s going to require 4 times as much effort as painting the walls.

The most practical restating of the Pareto Rule is that the enemy of good is better.

Another area in which the Pareto rule works is spam—in fact I believe it proves the rule. Eighty percent of my emails are spam. Before the improvement to the telephone system, 80 percent of my phone calls were spam. Thanks to the governments new “Shaken and Stirred” anti-spam law, today only 80 percent of my calls are spam.

When I go to the mailbox, 80 percent of my mail is junk mail—the very first form of spam (not counting SPAM® itself). Somewhat less than 20 percent is actual mail. I describe it that way because under the fine leadership of Postmaster General DeJoy, about half of the greeting cards that I send out, properly addressed with proper postage, reappear in my mailbox 30 to 60 days later.

THANKS AS ALWAYS TO WIKIPEDIA, WHICH IS WHERE I TURN WHEN I NEED MY MEMORY REFRESHED. PLEASE CHECK OUT THEIR SITE AND IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY, MAKE A DONATION, NO MATTER HOW SMALL. THANKS.

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