We often hear of “first mover’s advantage” in business and marketing, but not every first mover ends up the winner. There may be wisdom in not being the first, and having stamina and discernment instead.
For example, if we scour the news, it is not difficult to find big corporations and even governments, making mistakes that are sometimes colossal. Mistakes are not abnormal, since we are merely human. The important thing therefore, is making strategic recoveries from the mistakes expediently and with as little further financial and other dents as possible.
In the hey-days of the dotcom era, the idea of being the first mover being the winner was the war cry of the day then. Every startup was rushing to be first in a niche or specific area of technology and innovation.
And some years later, the dotcom era went under, replaced by more financial woes worldwide, and the age of discernment, responsibility and accountability began to kick in. Now so many years later, we are still cautious about the near and farther future.
It is no longer a “sure-win” to simply copy or emulate past successful models or businesses. What we need to do is to step back and examine all possibilities and outcomes, and discern with wisdom, rather than mere bravado.
I read a Wuxia (martial arts) story by a famous author once. From vague memory, the subplot was about 8 grandmasters of martial arts, who met at the summit of a mountain to compete and compare their skills with each other. Every time they met, all of them were equally skilled and no one won. Eventually, they decided that the only winner was simply, the last man living to the oldest age possible.
As was said, the meek shall inherit the world. Therefore, there is nothing wrong by being slow, or last movers. When every rash entity has fallen, and the dust has settled, being slow or being last, simply means you are the surviving one.
Dr Seamus Phan is the Head of Content and CTO at McGallen & Bolden. He is an expert in branding, marketing, communication, leadership training, crisis management, and entrepreneurship. This article may appear concurrently on his blog. Connect on LinkedIn. ©1984-2018 Seamus Phan et al. All rights reserved.