Category Archives: Creativity

The importance of the 80/20 Principle

20% of what you do today will be responsible for 80% of the day’s results. 20% of a company’s clients will be yield 80% of the company’s revenue. I can imagine that almost everyone is familiar with the 80/20 Principle, also known as the Pareto Principle. Pareto was an Italian economist who discovered an economic pattern: roughly 80% of the world’s wealth was in the hands of 20% of the people.

This imbalance, as it turns out, reveals itself not only in money, but in virtually any situation where there exists a relationship between input and output or cause and effect. And that’s just about everything. The imbalance is not necessarily 80/20. It can be 70/30 or 90/10. The point is that there is a significant imbalance.

It’s logical, when you think about it. Not *all* of what you do can possibly have the same effect on an outcome. Not *every* design will get the same amount of attention. In a 10-slide presentation, perhaps two or three slides will have the most impact. A site we just finished has several nice features, but only one or two of these will set it apart from similar sites. We paid the most attention to these features.

As a web designer, developer, or whatever it is you do, it’s a good idea to go into 80/20 mode at several points during your project. What are you doing right now? Is it part of the important 20% or the trivial 80%? Is that button really a show-stopper? The 80% is not bad, it’s just not as important. Utilizing the 80/20 Principle can help you set the right priorities. Short on time? Do 20% stuff. It will have the most effect.

Think about it… How much of Microsoft Word do you *really* use, Or any app for that matter?

Recommended reading: The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch. This book is a must have. Richard really goes geekily in-depth. The 80/20 Individual is also quite good, but you should really like the subject if you decide to read both.

Company X violates Cinnamon copyright

This post has been edited since first publication. See my lengthy explanation.

Update: Company X have changed their site as of May 22, 2007. They seem to have removed our material.

Note: This is my personal reaction to Company X’s violation of Cinnamon’s copyright, and is not necessarily the reaction of our company. Cinnamon’s post can be found at the Cinnamon Blog (in Dutch).

I hate it when people call themselves designers and then blatantly steal the work of other designers and imply that it’s their own. And that seems to be what Company X Design (“Design” is perhaps an overstatement) has done with elements of the Cinnamon design. It’s so blatantly done, it’s laughable. I mean, at least *tweak* the damn design—change the color or something—like any self-respecting talentless hack would. Once again, we seem to support my theory that most copycats are complete idiots. As opposed to the last time, I’m now armed with screenshots.

[screenshot removed]

This is not a debatable point. It’s not a question of *if* copyright has been violated, but in how many ways. Three, from my first observations. All in the header. Let’s examine this using some comment overlays.

First, the type image. [screenshot removed]

Secondly, the tagline under that image. [screenshot removed]

Thirdly, the small images used to lead to our portfolio. [screenshot removed]

I wrote a polite but firm e-mail to these people requesting that they remove the offending elements within 24 hours. They did not. (Update (2007.05.20): I did receive an e-mail from them today, dated May 18, in which they ask me to specify exactly which images and text I am referring to. No contact information and no name was given. I promptly sent a non-sarcastic version of the above screenshots.) I threatened appropriate action if they did not. Obviously this made no impression. Now I’ve posted this. Company X, it’s your own fault. This was the appropriate action I was going to take. A simple blog post. Everything I know about search engines tells me that when people search for you, there’s a decent chance they’ll see this post. Since every time someone comes to your site they see elements of our work passed off as yours, it seems a fair trade. Enjoy the free publicity.

Now I’m willing to bet a few things, and I’ll update this post as they happen, just to increase my Nostradamus-factor:

1. Company X have at least one very good reason to have not answered my e-mail (beware: I *will* post your sorry excuse here). I have received an e-mail response. See above.
2. They will indicate that someone else did the design for them, or they bought it, or some such worthless bullshit, and that they had no idea that copyright infringement had taken place.
3. Who? What? Huh?

I don’t mind if people allow themselves to be inspired by my work and the work of my team, but don’t steal it and pass it off as your own.

Have a nice day.