First mover vs. Fast follower

I just received my copy of Fast Second, and I'm looking forward to reading this perspective. I completely buy the Fast Follower strategy - its well-reasoned and has a plethora of examples of late comers dominating the market. That said, I'd much rather do something first and dominate the market. I'm not interested in being first for first's sake - meaning I'm not going to trade profits for being first - but, following someone else into the market doesn't get me excited. I'd rather change the world, even if most of the world doesn't notice.

Setting aside my personal inclination to be first, it's not about betting on one strategy better than the other. It's about not choosing either as a strategy. Whether you are first, second, or a millionth, it should be about having something that meets the needs of the market and you can execute on. Period. As soon as I hear the "we need to be first" or the "let's wait until someone else does it" mantra, hairs raise on my neck. Consumers don't reward first or second; they reward on delighting them, period.

I'm looking forward to Fast Second. I generally don't read books that don't align with my thinking, but I'm pushing myself to be more open-minded. We'll see how that works :)


Brian Erst said...

I wonder how the author treats the subject of the increasing use of patent law to shut down the ability to be "Fast Second".

With the explosion of business process and software patents (One-Click anyone?), the need to be first-to-market seems to me to be becoming more necessary, rather than less.

You can't count on brilliant but naive innovators anymore - too much venture capital is out there, backed by very savvy lawyers that can construct a virtual minefield of IP protections.

Much of what gets patented these days would qualify as a Duh!scovery on my blog, but it's still making people/corps like NTP wealthy. "Fast Second" just means "big payouts" down the line.

Adam ("AB") said...

Thanks for posting about the book...some random search led me to you.

It is quite interesting (also given your background at Amazon ;-) that the little recommendation widget on the right doesn't actually recommend the book you mention...as I will likely buy it. Any insight on that?