The 100 / 100 Rule

August 13, 2006 at 4:13 am Leave a comment

I have recently been hearing a lot of the 80 / 20 rule; especially the variation of it that suggests that 20% of your time is spent adding 80% of the value. This has always troubled me because of the waste that the rule implies regarding the 80% of time that is only adding 20% value.

In the context of entrepreneurialism it makes no sense. I would like to coin the 100 / 100 rule (or the entrepreneurial rule of time management), which states that when starting a new business 100% of your time must always be adding at least 100% value. There is so much to do when setting up a new venture, and resources are so tight, that the luxury of dedicating 80% of time for only 20% added value is ridiculous.

I would like to take this idea further and propose that achieving value with each and every second of the day is the essence of “entrepreneurialism”, which is what so many companies and individuals aspire to reach. When companies talk about going back to start-up stage, or when they talk about harnessing the “entrepreneurial spirit”, all they are really saying is that they are too bogged down with nonsense work to get anything done.

I think the 100 / 100 rule is what separates a successful start-up and one that is not. A good C.E.O. must ensure that everyone working on a project dedicates every second that is spent in the office geared towards adding the absolute most value. There is no other way around this. Two companies might be working on the same idea, but one always ends up blowing the other one out of the water. Why? Because one of the C.E.O.s was able to instill in his company the virtue that in order to attain success they must be productive all the time.

There is absolutely no place in a start-up for bureaucracy or any other type of time wasting.

Having worked at a top global consulting firm I was able to see a clear contrast in the working style of a behemoth company and an emerging start-up. The biggest difference wasn’t the drive, as people can be ambitious in all walks of life, rather it was the way people spent their time, and the different things that took up the majority of the day. In the consulting firm, 25% of time was spent filling in time-sheets, evaluations, and expense reports, while another 25% was spent answering unrelated company emails, organizing events, and kissing ass, yet another 30% of the time was spent going over documents and incorporating changes from 20 different sources. Only 10% was spent thinking, acting and doing. This is a stark contrast from the entrepreneurial setting, where the priority is putting together a fantastic product, and everything else takes a backseat.

When you start your next venture, or you can apply this to whatever you are doing now, remember that the special start-up juice that allows understaffed and under resourced companies to upstage their much bigger rivals comes down to allocation of time and the 100 / 100 rule. Make every minute count.


Entry filed under: Start-up.

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Exactly one year ago I set off on the most exciting journey of my life; I started Emerging Demographics Inc (the parent company of

Along the way I was selected as one of the top 20 young entrepreneurs by and the 21st coolest young entrepreneur by Inc. magazine. I have also appeared in ABC7, Telemundo, NPR, and been quoted in,, Entrepreneur Magazine, and various other publications.

Over the next few months I will recount some of the stories and lessons learned from building, developing and creating a business from scratch.

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