I get it, but it's also one of the same things that grates on me as an excuse to make terrible business decisions. You can make great ones with it, sure, but my brain tends to think the people using this strategy are doing really stupid things with it. It's the reason that Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream will eventually cease to have buttermilk as an ingredient, why fewer and fewer people will qualify for heatlhcare, and why big business cease looking at innovation as a means to further change.
For example, let's say I'm in a meeting with a bunch of executives and say "I can save us $$$$$ over X years by decreasing our buttermilk content 1% from 6% to 5%, replacing it with cheap pseudo-chemical food product Y. That's a 20% savings on buttermilk!" Hooray, +1 for you, your own corner office, etc. You stay a couple years in a posh corner office, leave, and nobody's the wiser in proposing a couple years later "why don't we decrease the buttermilk content?" like you never did it before...Never mind the decreasing quality of a product when your kids eat ice cream and think "You used to love this ice cream, Dad?" "Back in my day, it was better..."
Let's now again imagine I'm an actuary working at a Healthcare company. I find that families with X kids tend to have a 20-30% increase in use of insurance (not true, but play along). I propose that we (the company) offer all customers a tracking badge that lets them deduct 5% off their premium payments just for wearing it. Now, using the badge's tracking data (GPS, health stats, etc.), I can now pick apart any subset of customers that I find might save us 1% here, 2.2% there. Change the contract for them (again) and they never notice the little addition stating the right to deny coverage for people with your unique(not really) situation, and eventually whittle down to just people that can afford our premiums, never get sick, and don't cost us anything. Hooray, another corner office for Mr. Winner over here.
To point #3. US Patents have seemingly gotten a bit out of hand at the moment, with companies patenting anything they can think up, so you get things like Amazon's One-Click patent and the recent Lodsys patent case, where SMB's are literally scared out of business for fear of even having to deal with patent litigation based on silly patents like ”A Method and System for Communication, Advertising, Searching, Sharing and Dynamically Providing a Journal Feed”, such as RSS, Atom, or feed reading technology in general.
So while, yes, it is mind-blowing that going from 1%-2% isn't about the difference in percentage but the velocity of change, I would hate to live my life thinking like that as a primary driver. The forest and the trees and all that. Blindly following this as your mantra or gestalt( :) ) would end up with the same mentality that results in companies and the people working for them to nickel and dime people until they break, all the while thinking "I didn't do anything wrong, honest".