“The second mouse gets the cheese” – Rayford Johnson

This is a witty response to “the early bird get’s the worm.”  There are a lot of ways to interpret its relevance but here are a couple of thoughts:

  1. The first mover carries a heavy burden.  It takes a lot of time and money to change the culture and you will probably be short on both.  If you have an entrenched competitor, you have to convince your market to not only buy something new, but to rip out what they have been using for a long time.  This is called change over cost and it can be prohibitive.  In fact many business models leverage it.  Take SalesForce.com.  It’s a great app that is  cheap and easy to get started with and by the time you have all your business processes running in it, you will be very reluctant to move to something else.  Then they have you.  A good strategy is to find an underserved nitche that no one else is competing for and dominate it.  Then move to the next and the next.  Geoffrey Moore calls this the “bowling pin strategy.”
  2. The second thought is to be constantly observant of the the market, your customers, your competitors.  A certain amount of paranoia is healthy for a business.  Be agile so can can adjust to a sudden change in technology or the winds of a new market.

Happy Birthday to “mama Gazelle”

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