a good idea
In innovation, we often fixate too much on the competition. We benchmark and validate ideas based what everyone else is doing. This cycle of one-upmanship makes it hard to launch something truly new and different. It also creates a lot of me-toos.
My friend Sasha pointed me to “The Creative Monopoly“, a David Brooks piece on PayPal founder Peter Thiel’s business philosophy.
“Instead of being slightly better than everybody else in a crowded and established field, it’s often more valuable to create a new market and totally dominate it. The profit margins are much bigger, and the value to society is often bigger, too … He’s talking about doing something so creative that you establish a distinct market, niche and identity. You’ve established a creative monopoly and everybody has to come to you if they want that service, at least for a time”.
Of course there’s a role for the fast follower in innovation. But when everyone is a fast follower, who is there to lead?
I once heard innovation writer Doug Hall say, “If you’re not meaningfully unique, then you’d better be cheap.”
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post. I’ll pick one comment by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)