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The Second Mover Advantage

I think there is some advantage in being the ‘second-mover’. 

As business leaders, we need to look to the future, spot trends, and develop new products that our clients want (and need.) Once-iconic companies like Kodak and Blockbuster missed key opportunities to pivot and address changing consumer behavior, and they paid a big price. 

But it’s a delicate balance. While moving too slowly could see a loss of business to competitors, moving too swiftly might see your resources wasted. Being the first mover into a product segment could mean too much of your time and budget is spent on educating the market that there actually is a problem before you can even talk about your solution.

Many years ago, I spent some time with a business owner who was heavily invested in developing image recognition software for mobile phones. It essentially converted business card details to contact data that could be imported into a phone’s address book. 

While the idea seemed to have some merit - and he had a thousand ideas for both consumers and paying advertisers - deep down, I thought it was too early. If the idea were to succeed, I felt it needed to be natively integrated into mobile devices to get the critical mass that would provide real value to the user (and the advertiser.)

As it turns out, educating the market was a cost too great, and sadly the business folded.

I think that spotting trends and successfully developing new products takes equal parts vision and hindsight. Vision - what could be done. Hindsight - learning from past wins and losses (both yours and others.) Many entrepreneurs are passionate visionaries but are not always keen to look in the rearview mirror and learn from hindsight.

And sometimes, a glance in that mirror just might be the difference between success and failure.

There is an advantage to being the second mover.

Abe Udy

Abe is the founder of Abe's Audio and started the business in 1998 from his bedroom with an old computer, fax machine, dial-up internet, and a microphone in his wardrobe. Today, he leads a team that provides audio production and voice overs to media, agency, eLearning, video & creative clients around Australia and beyond.

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