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The rich get richer


Today, the Economic Times dedicated an entire page to an article highlighting how the Modi government has been trying very hard to ensure it is not seen as doing any favours to corporate bigwigs and help the rich get richer. In fact, it quoted some industrialists who claimed that Modi was more approachable when he was Gujarat CM than he is now.

Whenever someone talks about the rich getting richer, it is nearly always in such a context, making it seem that it is almost criminal for the rich to get richer. But the fact is that it is very easy for the rich to get richer. They have to make a deliberate choice to not get richer in order to avoid getting richer.

This shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, we all behave in a way that ensures the rich get richer. And this behaviour is highlighted by the graph above. You may have seen this graph only with respect to product adoption in the market. But, it has a far wider significance.

In anything, and you already know it from the getting-traction-for-your-product context, it is extremely hard to convince the initial 2.5% of people to trust you and to give your product a chance. It is just as hard to land the first good project, or raise the first round of funding, or get the first date. But once you do, you establish yourself among the Innovators and the word spreads and it is far easier to get other people to notice you and to listen to what you have to say. Because, as you can see from the graph, 97.5% of us decide to try you only if someone else already has.

This is precisely the reason why kids take on huge loans and prepare with singular focus when faced with the opportunity to get into a reputed college. Getting into a reputed college is getting the first 2.5% to try you. This is also the reason why the likes of Flipkart and Amazon offer huge discounts every now and then - so that people who are yet to buy from them are incentivised to try them out. Because unless you're the last person to try something, there are others waiting for you to do it before they decide to do it themselves.

The competition to get noticed by the 2.5% is extremely high and the ones who make it past this have to compete with far fewer to gain the next 2.5% and so on. When you make it past the 50% mark, you hardly have anyone else to compete with for the remaining audience.

While retaining the ones you have gained is hard, it is smooth sailing compared to what you have to do to get to the first 2.5%. You may have already seen this with job offers, college admits, scholarships, performance gigs (music, theatre, DJ, etc). Once you get the first good one, you find that others come knocking on your door.

No wonder then that the rich get richer. That is the law of the world we live in.

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