Being Second: Ignore the First-Mover Advantage

A lot of entrepreneurs want the “first-mover advantage” and want to be a “market maker.” I regularly suggest they pause or wait. Why? Because being a market maker is expensive. You have to teach/train everyone about their need for your product. I know this first hand—having stepped into the model-driven architecture space before anyone believed you could just generate an entire application. I spent a million dollars a year teaching people it was possible. A year later there were 30 entrants in the field that were using my slides, talks, and examples—and winning more clients.

Instead, I recommend being a great #2. Be a great “market taker”. Let someone else educate the market and convince them of their own need. Then review #1's gaps and build a better #2—for less. Leverage their marketing, their terms, and all the education they've done, as you take it away from them.

There's something to be said for being a fantastic follower. In fact, we need less “firsts” and many more “seconds.” Being second gives you the ability to really create the crowd, create the validation, and inspire others to take a second look.