The Long Tail Complements the 80/20 Rule

“The 80/20 Rule is chronically misunderstood, for three reasons. First, it’s almost never exactly 80/20…

“The 80 and the 20 are percentages of different things and thus don’t need to equal 100…

“People use it to describe different phenomena. The classic definition is about products and revenues, but the Rule can just as equally be applied to products and profits.

“…I’ve described the Long Tail as the death of the 80/20 Rule, even though it’s actually nothing of the sort. The real 80/20 Rule is just the acknowledgement that a Pareto distribution is at work, and some things will sell a lot better than others, which is as true in Long Tail markets as it is in traditional markets.

“What the Long Tail offers, however, is the encouragement to not be dominated by the Rule.” (p. 131)

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