80/20 Rule

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I recently read an article where the author mentioned that the insights of the article followed the "80/20 rule". I wasn’t familiar with that, so I was relieved to see that the author gave a brief description before moving on: 80 percent of the truth in 20 percent of the time.


I must have read it too literally or something cuz it took me a minute to understand. If it’s not blatantly obvious to you, let me rephrase it in my own words, while also ironically breaking the rule:

Most of what I’m saying is correct. There are edge cases and exceptions. In an effort to help onboard you with the concept and vastly reduce the amount of time it takes to cover the idea, I will greatly simplify. It is pointless to call me out on oversimplifying, as that is literally the point.

I also like to think of this as the idea that most concepts have a relatively simple basic premise that can be explained quickly and easily. However, digging into the nuances is what takes up the vast majority of time. I think this also goes hand in hand with the phrase "the more I know, the more I know I don’t know." Basically, when you first learn something, it seems rather simple, but then you find an exception. Explaining that exception takes time and requires reframing your understanding. Then you find another exception and the cycle continues.

Okay, so what’s your point?

This rule is actually one that I commonly practice and often see in the wild. I had never identified as an individual concept, though, apart from verbally stating "TL;DR" occasionally.

Additionally, I think this is an important rule to keep in mind both as a matter of personal practice and recognizing it when others speak. The internet is ready to pounce on the smallest of innaccuracies when so frequently they are beside the point. While there are times that we need to dig deeper and follow through on those minutae, much of the world can be simplified if we can keep 80/20 in mind and respect it for what it is: not the whole truth, but a good start.

Maybe there isn’t any point to my rambling on and on about this (again, quite to the contrary of the inherent idea I’m getting behind). But at the very least it feels like a good outlet to share my thoughts and I can stop obsessing over imaginary lectures of the idea in my head!

Disorganized thoughts

I think my school fits this principle. Between our lessons and projects, we are generally getting the general concepts of development, but due to the accelerated course, often skim over some of the nuances. To clarify, I think this is a good thing. No one can know everything and information overload is real. Basically, Lambda instills the essences of development and has staff and resources to assist when students have questions or pursue concepts beyond the base curriculum.

I think I’m going to start the practice of placing "80/20:" at the start of chats, posts, and any other dispersal of information where there’s a simple answer to a question, but there’s more to uncover if desired. Also useful for the times I want to help, but don’t have time to delve into specifics!

I think others should also do this. I believe it’s worth setting expectations of the content set forth.

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