The Internet Pareto: 98/2

Pareto PrincipleThose of us of a certain age are used to being bludgeoned with the Pareto Principle: 20% of {some cause} accounts for 80% of {some effect}. The 80/20 rule. It’s often treated as received truth.  It’s sometimes true.

I’ve been knocking around the Internet a bit, looking at all sorts of resources for the poor, unpublished novelist. (Me.) At some point, I realized that Moore’s Law (computing power doubles every 18 months) has inseminated the Pareto Principle, and ungodly spawn is the Internet reality that 98% of what’s out there is dreck. 2% is inspired, wonderful stuff. The new Pareto is 98/2.

There are absolutely marvelous apps, excellent websites for writing and so on. They exist as tantalizing possibilities, often buried under great piles of manure. (When was the last time a website was honest about the cost of what it offers?  Ever?)

Which brings me to my final realization on this subject: The amount of valuable intellectual property has probably been expanding at about the same rate since, oh, that Cro Magnon guy looked at a burning ember and thought up barbeque. I’m guessing that probably holds for writing, too. (OK, not entirely a constant rate. Blips at Aristophanes, Chaucer, Shakespeare.) The marvelous technology we have is entirely non-judgmental and allows geometric, nay, exponential expansion of the manure layer. I don’t think I’m part of it, but it looks like a 2% kind of guy (ego, be still) is going to have to have a big shovel to get noticed. Better start on that marketing plan, right?.



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