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I do dislike the “a small percentage of a big number is still a lot of people” quote. Its used as a “cup-half-full” message by some, and a “cup-half-empty” by others.
Yahoo’s usage was in the context of saying that you want all your users to have the same minimum features, but there are a thousand situations where this quote seems to be used where its inappropriate.
1% of 100,000,000 people is still a lot of people, but its also STILL 1%!!
If you’re going to throw money after catering for a tiny minority, when you could be using it to increase conversions with the remaining 99%, you really have no business sense whatsoever.
Whilst it is ideologically awesome to cater for the 1.6%, and incredibly rewarding, digital technology is constantly changing. To dwell on providing A-grade experiences for C-grade users/browsers is a fruitless and expensive task which is not guaranteed to yield any more benefits than focusing attention on improvements for the majority.