Summary Summary: The Dip — Be the Best in the World

Graph from Seth Godin's book The Dip plotting effort against reward. There's a small initial reward, a long hard slog, then a giant reward for being the best.

The Dip by Seth Godin describes a personal approach to achievement by following a strategy of quality in a world of micromarkets. I’ve read the summary and have tried to further summarize it:

  1. You start by finding a micromarket where you can be the best in the world, whether it’s personal financial planning for new parents in Brooklyn or “gluten-free bialys available by overnight shipping.” What constitutes “best” and “the world” is in the eye of the customer, not you.
  2. Then you work long and hard to be the best in that micromarket, which will involve slogging through “the dip” where reward is low and effort is high.
  3. Along the way you need to be careful to “quit the stuff where you can’t be the best. That leaves you the resources to invest in getting through the Dip.”

That’s the functional summary, you’ll have to read the book to be inspired.


  1. But what to you think about that?

    I’m all about trying to be the best in a micromarket, but how do you make sure your market size isn’t too small? Is a small potential market just another type of dip you may not be able to get through?

    Guess, I should read the book…

  2. RE>But what to you think about that?

    Lately it’s helping me focus one part of my career. In Godin’s language, I’m headed down one road that’s a “cul-de-sac” that won’t go anywhere and I need to quit and turn around. Forcing me to focus on the one thing I can be the best at forces that decision.

    RE> Is a small potential market just another type of dip you may not be able to get through?

    I like that Venn diagram with overlapping circles of
    * What I love to do
    * What I do well
    * What other people will pay for (a big enough market)

    …somewhere in there is my micromarket.

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