Is first mover advantage a crock?

I read yet another pack today that was expounding the virtues of first mover advantage.  Call me a cynic but I personally think first mover advantage has lost what ever value it ever had. (and some question that!)

Here’s why,

In this instance, the vendor in question was using the hook of first mover advantage as a to sell us more stuff. The problem with that the market they are talking to is

  1. already fairly mature (where is the first in that)
  2. has an unclear business model
  3. and looks like the only folks making money would be them

Hell, the US is about to change it’s Patent laws to the first person to FILE and patent , not the first person to invent the product..

I also think that in the last decade, the speed of change is such that there literally is no window to build customer scale.  It also means that technical change, or more appropriately how customers adopt or use technology is moving too rapid for any one player to gain any substantial advantage (take Android vs iPhone).

The last decade has also highlighted that the world is far less predictable than it ever was. Who for saw Apple’s meteoroic rise ? Facebook? Global financial crisis?  Being first in this world, actually carving out and product category is so tough….

Call me cynical but it looks to me that the only real advantage a company has these days is execution.

Apple didn’t invent the MP3 player, or the smartphone. Google didn’t invent online advertising or search, what they did was execute better than their competition…

One thought on “Is first mover advantage a crock?

  1. Excution, plus giving the customer what they want. I tend to agree completely with what you are saying. That vendor is trying to sell you something. And let’s be honest, the minute you purchase their sales guy will be off talking to your competitor, and they will probably execute faster anyway, so what value did you gain for what no doubt cost more to get first?

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