First Mover vs Fast Follower – Who wins?


Before exploring the reasons for success or failure lets review a list of innovation leaders and fast followers.

  • AltaVista -> Google
  • Napster -> iTunes
  • VisiCalc -> Lotus 123 -> Excel
  • Word Perfect -> Word
  • Netscape -> Internet Explorer
  • Apple Newton -> Palm Pilot -> Blackberry
  • IBM PC -> Compaq -> Dell
  • Double Click -> Google Ad Sense
  • Ofoto -> Flickr
  • Compuserve -> AOL -> @Home -> Comcast & Verizon

All of these companies were innovation leaders and market leaders. Yet, they were eclipsed by fast followers, in some cases multiple times, who imitated their innovation. My belief is that the technology was outstanding…the management was not.

In nearly every case the early innovators were eclipsed by fast followers. Why did the fast followers take over market share leadership?

  • Better business model (Google, Ad Sense, Dell)
  • Better market position (Word, Excel, Comcast, Verizon)
  • Better timing (iTunes, Flickr)
  • Better platform choices (Blackberry, Word, Excel)
  • Better management (all the fast followers)

The list of "fast followers" above are more than just imitators. They have continued to innovate far beyond the original idea or feature set and have maintained market leadership. If you look closely at these companies they have a  mix of technical visionaries and business management leaders. It takes a different set of skills to start a company than it does to sustain a company. This balance of skills, I think, is the key to sustained market leadership.

Lessons for entrepreneurs;

  • Never stop innovating
  • Build a well rounded management team early
  • Value sales and marketing talent as much as technical talent
  • React quickly to disruptive technologies or business models
  • Don’t be too proud to imitate when it makes sense
  • Beware of platform shifts that look like minor inferior choices
  • Most early innovators get beat by platform shifts, not direct competitors

For the original article goto


How to unlock your creative genius


We are all creative but our human experience filters, and conscious mind, block out creative bursts. We are much more creative while sleeping when the subconscious mind is free to think outside the box and associate thought fragments in totally new ways. Think about your dreams. You create the characters, the story line, the scenes, the dialog, everything. All of us have a little Steven Spielberg inside us.

The New York Times has an interesting story today Charting Creativity: Signposts of a Hazy Territory. Dr. Rex Jung, a research scientist at the Mind Research Network in Albuquerque says;

“The brain appears to be an efficient superhighway that gets you from Point A to Point B” when it comes to intelligence, Dr. Jung explained. “But in the regions of the brain related to creativity, there appears to be lots of little side roads with interesting detours, and meandering little byways.”

Although intelligence and skill are generally associated with the fast and efficient firing of neurons, subjects who tested high in creativity had thinner white matter and connecting axons that have the effect of slowing nerve traffic in the brain. This slowdown in the left frontal cortex, a region where emotional and cognitive abilities are integrated, Dr. Jung suggested, “might allow for the linkage of more disparate ideas, more novelty and more creativity.”

Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing: How to unlock your creative genius

Can Entrepreneurs Be Made?

A survey of 549 successful entrepreneurs found that the majority didn’t have entrepreneurial parents. They didn’t even have entrepreneurial aspirations while going to school. They simply got tired of working for others, had a great idea they wanted to commercialize, or woke up one day with an urgent desire to build wealth before they retired. So they took the big leap.

The findings said that 52% of the successful entrepreneurs were the first in their immediate families to start a business — just like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Sergei Brin, and Russell Simons (Def Jam founder). Their parents were academics, lawyers, factory workers, priests, bureaucrats, etc. About 39% had an entrepreneurial father, and 7% had an entrepreneurial mother. (Some had both.)

Only a quarter caught the entrepreneurial bug when in college. Half didn’t even think about entrepreneurship, and they had little interest in it when in school. There was no significant difference between the success factors or hurdles faced by entrepreneurs who were extremely interested in entrepreneurship in school (and who likely set up the lemonade stands) and the ones who lacked interest. But entrepreneurs with extreme interest started more companies and did it sooner. Of the 24.5% who indicated that they were “extremely interested” in becoming entrepreneurs during college, 47.1% went on to start more than two companies (as compared with 32.9% of the overall sample). Sixty-nine percent started their companies within 10 years of working for someone else (as compared to 46.8% of the rest of the sample population).

Fore more goto Can Entrepreneurs Be Made?

The Future of Web Content – HTML5, Flash & Mobile Apps

File:HTML5.svg image by al_oasis1

The recent introduction of the new Apple iPad has stirred the discussion over the future of web content and application runtime formats, and shone light onto the political and business battles emerging between Apple, Adobe and Google. These discussion are often highly polarized and irrational. My hope in this post is to help provide some balance and clarity onto this discussion. More here

The Next Big Thing: Predictions for 2010 and the new decade


  • The future of computing – Your cell phone will become your primary computer, communicator, camera, and entertainment device, all in one. The exciting new applications are running in the browser, with application code and data in the cloud, and the cell phone as a major platform.  I think in the near future there will be docking stations everywhere with a screen and a keyboard. You simply pull out your phone, plug it into the docking station, and instantly all your applications and data are available to you. You can connect to the Internet via your cell phone service, WiFi hotspot, or wired connection.  Your phone will have enough storage so you can decide which applications and data are stored on your phone, and which will be in the cloud. Replication will work seamlessly in the background so that you always have a backup copy of your data in the cloud.
  • Cloud Computing – Mainframe to PC to mobile phone – Mobile phones are clearly the next computing platform. Mainframes (IBM) dominated the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. PCs displaced mainframes in the mid 80’s, and with it Microsoft became the new king of the hill (1985 – 2000). The Internet in 2000 enabled web applications, web commerce, and the notion of cloud based computing. The iPhone took mobile computing to the next level. It delivered a beautiful user interface on a cell phone screen, with hundreds of applications, and all the computation and data storage in the cloud. Android will accelerate this trend in 2010.
  • Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley says Mobile Internet usage is bigger than most people think, and it is exploding. Every platform shift has 10X the number of devices and users. There were about 1M mainframes, 10M mini-computers, 100M PCs, and 1 Billion cell phones. The next wave of mobile devices will be over 10B.

    10x platform shifts

  • Browser as Web OS
  • Android will disrupt the mobile business
  • Mobile bandwidth will explode
  • Games on your cell phone
  • Cell phone as payment device
  • Software companies become Application companies
  • Gmail and Google Apps go enterprise

for more details –> Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing: Predictions for 2010 and the new decade

Managing Innovation is about Managing Change


Innovation is Change

Innovation is about change. Companies that successfully innovate in a repeatable fashion have one thing in common – they are good at managing change. Now, change comes from many sources, but when it comes to innovation, the main sources are incremental innovation and disruptive innovation.
The small changes from incremental innovation often come from the realm of implementation, so the organization, customers, and other stakeholders can generally adapt. However, the large changes generated by disruptive innovation, often come from the imagination, and so these leaps forward for the business often disrupt not only the market but the internal workings of the organization as well – they also require a lot of explanation.

Blogging Innovation: Managing Innovation is about Managing Change – Latest innovation articles, videos, and insights