Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Dear Samuel,

We’ve been through the 80% law of success, as well as the 20% rule of attracting success. I want to discuss another piece of the success formula. I want to write about the geysers in Yellowstone Park to emphasize the concept of consistency, or predictability.

You may already be able to tell where I’m headed with this. That’s a good thing. If not, well just keep reading.

The Old Faithful geyser is easily the most popular geyser in the world, if you measure it by people who come to see it every year. Roughly 2.5 million people each year watch Old Faithful erupt. No other geyser even comes close in terms of visitors.


Old Faithful shows up, every 90 minutes or so – which is 80% of success. Old Faithful does a great job. It’s a classic geyser and it looks spectacular. What really sets Old Faithful apart, however, is the fact that it is predictable and consistent. The park employees can predict within 20 minutes or so when it is going to go off next. There is an inn close enough to the geyser so if you’re there, you can tell if you have time for lunch, or just a snack before it erupts.

You probably won’t be surprised to know that Old Faithful is not the biggest geyser in Yellowstone. That distinction belongs to Steamboat geyser. Steamboat geyser can erupt for hours at a time, and shoot as high as 380 feet in the air. That’s taller than a football field. Steamboat is not only Yellowstone’s tallest, but it is the world’s tallest geyser. Unfortunately it has periods of dormancy that are unpredictable, sometimes even lasting decades. It’s not a mystery as to why more tourists go out of their way to see Old Faithful when they go to Yellowstone, but don’t bother going to see Steamboat.


This lack of predictability gives Steamboat geyser a lot of disadvantages. Nobody can plan around it. You might show up wanting to see it erupt, then have to wait for days or weeks until it erupts again. If you wait around you miss all the other cool stuff in the park.

Hasta La Vista Hombre,


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