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The Value of Hard Stuff– Reflecting on The Dip by Seth Godin

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When I decided to pursue the path of tech, I very idealistic about it. I would read about all these technologies and hype myself up to learn them1 thinking that I’d become some highly respected programmer. When it came to actually learn, the hype went away as soon as things got hard. In other words, I would have gone into “the dip”.

After reading The Dip by Seth Godin, I’ve learned that “the dip” serves a purpose. That purpose is to filter the truly exceptional from everyone else. And by exceptional, I mean really exceptional, like top 5 in a field exceptional- not top 5%- 52!

The dip is where a craft is perfected. Before the dip, you find the Cul De Sac where actions lead to no progress. The dip is also preceded by the cliff where things seem okay with progress being made only for the progress to sharply drop off since the challenge wasn’t hard enough. After all, if certain things were easy, everyone would be doing it making them less valuable.

Now, we can’t be great at everything, which is why Seth argues that winners should know when to quit. By knowing when to quit, you can focus on what you can truly excel at.

In all, the Dip is a great little book! It’s…little making it a quick read and it does a great job of explaining the idea of the dip, the cul de sac, the cliff and the value of quitting.

You can get it on Amazon or find it at a library near you on

  1. One thing I’ve learned is not to build up too much hype without acting on it or you’ll be so attached to the hype that you’re stuck building it up rather than the skill. ↩︎

  2. Think about it. According to, Google is the largest search engine at about 80% market share, followed by Baidu and Bing at 7% each with Yahoo at 4% and everyone else fighting for two percent. Google has gotten so good that there’s virtually no way anybody else can compete with them and the ones that do are within orders of magnitude away from them. ↩︎