The 80/20 Principle was discovered in 1897 by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. It simply maintains that a minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually lead to a majority of the results, outputs, or rewards.

Whilst the exact split may not be 80/20, a significant imbalance is often found in a myriad of situations. In part this is explained by the nature of feedback loops and the idea of tipping points.


Considering the 80/20 idea forces one to look for the biggest issue, or the point of greatest leverage. This is illustrated in the following approach by Bill Gates:

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