Why Less is More

The more I work in IT, the more I realize how insightful the Pareto principle really is.  While it doesn’t apply directly to IT, it certainly rears its ugly head here a lot.  For example, to this day, years after a certain developer left who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, we have code in production that consistently contains bugs even though that very same code has contributed many bugs in the past.  This fellow didn’t contribute anywhere near 20% of the code but his code helps us know where to look for a good chunk of the 80% of the bugs.

On the flip side, I think it’s apparent that in almost any field of work that doesn’t require a 10 year degree or that you don’t get paid $7 million a year to do, 20% of the people do somewhere close to 80% of the work.  Thinking statistically, this probably has something to do with approximately 16% of the people being one or more standard deviations above the mean.  There are lots of leeches and bloodsuckers who float along on the tails of people who actually do work.  Strangely, the more hierarchical a company is, the more leeches there are around.  I think it’s because the hierarchy protects them from being found out.

So how do you either find a job where everyone is in that 20% or start a company and hire those people?  If it’s the former, look for a flat organizational structure, one where the concept “team” isn’t a dirty word.  If it’s the latter, and you have an answer, I’d love to hear about it.  In reality, I know how to find and hire them, I just have to find the idea for the company first.  So if you have an answer for that, drop me a line.  🙂

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