The Dip by Seth Godin | Book Summary

Denny Lesmana
4 min readAug 15, 2021

Quitters never win and winners never quit. Bad advice. Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.

Best in the world

Zipf’s Law : Winners win big because the marketplace loves a winner.

Best as in: best for you, right now, based on what you believe and what you know

in the world = in their world. The world they have access to.

The Curved

Curve 1: The dip

source: https://socialfabric.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/seth-godin-the-dip.jpg

The dip is the long slog between starting and mastery.

It’s easy to BE a CEO… what’s hard is GETTING there. There’s a huge dip along the way.

The Dip creates scarcity, and scarcity creates value.

Important note: successful people lean into the dip, not just ride it out.

Curve 2: The Cul-De-Sac

The Cul-de-sac is French for a dead-end.

If you are facing a Cul-de-sac, you need to quit immediately.

A dead end is keeping you from doing something else.

Curve 3: The Cliff

source: https://cbsnews1.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2019/04/13/1caa039a-de94-458c-a43f-c479ea7c2b6e/thumbnail/640x390/2fdfe455d3366e39cfb9f6b86c382194/the-dip-illustration-2-620.jpg

Cliff - It’s a situation where you can’t quit until you fall off, and the whole things apart. Fine examples of cliffs are behaviors that are enjoyable in the short-term but have a significant drawback if you fail. For example, smoking is enjoyable until you get lung cancer.

  • The people who set out to make it through the Dip, the people who invest the time and energy and the effort to power through the Dip — those are the ones who become the best in the world.
  • In competitive world, adversity is your ally. The harder it gets, the better chance you have of insulating yourself from the competition.
  • You get what you deserve when you embrace the Dip and treat it like the opportunity that it really is.
  • People who train successfully pay their dues for the first minute or two and then get all the benefits at the very end.
  • If you can’t make it through the Dip, don’t start.

7 Reasons You Might Fail to Become Best in the World:

  1. You run out of time (and quit).
  2. You run out of money (and quit).
  3. You get scared (and quit).
  4. You’re not serious about it (and quit).
  5. You lose interest or enthusiasm or settle for being mediocre (and quit).
  6. You focus on the short term instead of the long (and quit when the short term gets too hard).
  7. You pick the wrong thing at which to be the best in the world (because you don’t have the talent).

8 Dip Curves:

Some systems are dependent on dips. Use this knowledge to decide whether to start pursuing something.

  1. Manufacturing dip — Your product is complicated to manufacture at scale.
  2. Sales Dip — You are finding it hard to upgrade to a pro salesforce.
  3. Education dip — You find it hard to learn something new, to reinvent or rebuild your skills.
  4. Risk dip — Your entrepreneurial ventures are risky. Know the difference between investing to get through the dip and investing in something that will never work.
  5. Relationship Dip — To get what you want out of relationships requires hard work upfront and relationship building when it’s difficult.
  6. Conceptual dip — Industries have to abandon the operating assumptions of their world. They have to get through to the other side when no one believes they will succeed.
  7. Ego dip — Give up control and your spotlight to obtain success.
  8. Distribution dip — Getting into extensive distribution channels is complex.

Quitting is not a moral failing. Quitting frees you up to get through the dips that matter.

Three questions to ask before quitting:

  1. Am I Panicking? — When the pressure is greatest, your desire to quit should be at its lowest. Quitting is not the same as panicking. A panic is never premeditated and grabs us in the moment. Never quit when you are panicked, as you have not truly made this decision yourself. The best quitters are the ones who decide in advance when and why they are going to quit. You can always quit later, but you will struggle to resurrect a pursuit you have quit in a panic.
  2. Who am I trying to influence? — Trying to influence one person has its limits. One person or organization will behave differently from an entire market. The rules are different for a market. Most people in the market have not even heard of you. Think of the market as a hill that can be climbed step by step.
  3. What sort of measurable progress am I making? — You have to be making forward progress. The alternatives are falling behind and standing still. Avoid these alternatives and ensure you are making progress, no matter how small. You should not view surviving as an example of measurable progress. Instead, you need to create new milestones that previously didn’t exist.

This Book in 3 Lines:

Quit the wrong stuff

Stick with the right stuff

Have the guts to do one or the other

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Denny Lesmana

Senior Full Stack Engineer @ Ajaib | Tech & Investment Enthusiast | twitter: https://twitter.com/Denny_lesmanaa