First Mover Advantage is NOT Critical to Your Success
First mover advantage; being the first one in a market or to develop a new technology can be a huge advantage. At the same time, doing all that hard work also lays the foundation for someone else to step in and do it better.
So if you’re a first mover, great. If not, no sweat. All you have to do is find an edge that gets everybody talking about the new kid on the block.
Let’s look at some “second-movers” and see how they did so well …
First there was Apple, then along came Billy G and some new ideas. Big ideas. Where Apple has always developed their operating system and assembled the hardware, Microsoft opened the floodgates to thousands of other compaines by licensing their OS and letting others build and assemble the hardware.
If you can create opportunities for other companies and entrepreneurs to prosper with your product, you can take the lead.
Coca-Cola was a strong and growing company when Pepsi came along. Today, by some metrics Coke is still in the lead and by other metrics it’s Pepsi. But Pepsi came along after Coca-Cola was well established.
I don’t know if I’d call a $100 billion company an underdog, but being the “alternative” and having the drive to do better will take you a long way.
Before Google, there was Yahoo. And even before Yahoo there was Infoseek. A strong combination of stick-to-your-brain branding and innovative technology will get people to use your products and services.
If you can be memorable and fun, and if you can make a task faster and easier, you’ll do well.
4. Research in Motion
The Blackberry (or crackberry if you prefer) wasn’t the first cell phone. They’re insane success comes from doing a little bit of everything …
If you can develop a strong brand, create an easier way to do something, and create opportunities in the marketplace (RIM builds their devices and the mobile networking technology they and other devices use), you’re going to do very, very well.
Being first helps. But it’s not critical to creating success. Most businesses don’t create anything new, they just take something that already exists; something that already has a proven market, and they make it better.
So, you can be first. Or you can be better than first.