Bad advice for entrepreneurs: 3 of 7

The "first mover" myth.

Pioneers inevitably make mistakes and often very serious mistakes. Their successors, if observant, are the major beneficiaries.

• Ford was the first to manufacture automobiles on assembly lines but GM soon overtook them.
• Univac built the first commercial mainframe computers but IBM achieved market domination within a few years.
• Wang invented word processing and Visicalc launched the first spreadsheet. Then Word Perfect and Lotus 1-2-3 drove them out of the market… until Microsoft crushed both in turn, along with other “first movers” such as Novell and Netscape.
• For decades Philips introduced a stream of brilliant new technologies but competitors consistently won bigger market shares.
• McDonald was not the pioneer of fast food and Wal-Mart was a latecomer to discount retailing. Where are their predecessors today?

• HP was slow to enter the market for printing and imaging. Bic was even slower to enter the market for cheap ballpoint pens. Who remembers which company launched the first mobile phones? Or the first search engine?


And so forth. There are hundreds of well documented cases. An American proverb reminds us that the second mouse gets the cheese. Better not to ask what happens to the first one.

Bad advice
for entrepreneurs
A few
success stories
Our team Home
"You will need at
least a million..."
Technology is what
really counts.
The "first mover"
Your national
market is a
natural platform.
Start in high gear.
awareness, awareness
You must have
an exit strategy.