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First Mover Advantage February 3, 2007

Posted by Vijay in First Movers, Issues, People, Pioneers.
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Murali Writes

How important is it to have the first mover advantage? Is it good enough to be second?

Ravish Malhotra. Do you remember him? I’ll bet that 7 out of 10 people who read this will not.

Rakesh Sharma. Do you remember him? I’ll bet that 7 out of 10 people who read this will.

That is how important it is to finish first and not just second. For those of you wondering, Rakesh Sharma and Ravish Malhotra were trained to be India’s first cosmonauts. Rakesh Sharma got chosen for the actual mission while Ravish became the backup. I remember that until the few days before the mission itself both names used to always appear together in all reports. Ravish’s name completely faded from the limelight as soon as the decision on the prime cosmonaut was decided and Rakesh was chosen. I am sure both were equally competent in everything. Just that one finished ahead of the other.

In the same theme of aerospace a couple more examples…

Hardly anybody would know the name – Gherman Titov but everybody knows Yuri Gagarin.

Buzz Aldrin’s name never quite has the same buzz as Neil Armstrong’s.

Needless to say, there are innumerable examples in the business world that would bear this out. It is so important for brand name recall that you have to be the first off the blocks.

So who will be the first Indian on the moon? or the second?

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Comments»

1. Vijay - February 3, 2007

Murali: Have to disagree to some degree… as I mentioned earlier to you.. everyone talks about Google when you talk about Search. We know that they were not the first movers there…. (anyone remember Magellan?)

I have a personal experience in the first mover space during my days in the Mobile space… we were one of the first companies to develop high volume messaging servers for SMS services.. in fact our R&D guys used to educate the carriers and large companies like Logica and Nokia.. only problem was that we were about 2-3 years ahead of the curve… by the time the market took off all our energies were expended and our competition walked off with the business (some of them OEM’ing our stuff).

2. Murali Partha - February 3, 2007

And then there was (is?) Iridium! But you are right.
You could be the first mover and still not gain significant marketshare because
1. You are ahead of your time.
2. You could be the guinea pig. The followers learn from your mistakes; but your mistakes have ruined your brand-name. (I suspect Deccan Air is in the danger of falling into this category)
3. And maybe, your product or service or execution is just not good enough. Maybe only your idea was good.

But all things being equal…Bandaid wins over Handiplast!

3. Veena Shivanna - February 3, 2007

Not too sure how it works in the commercial market.
What Murali said about those astranauts are very much TRUE…
As part of General Knowledge(quiz Q), the first is listed but not the second!
Being first(to be successful) will certainly win the popularity …!
We could think about somany examples.
Vijay has a point too for being infamous sometime depending on the performance of the others !! 😉

4. praneshachar - February 5, 2007

It is true only the first one will be remebered. I think in sports it is bit different any one who wins a medal for the coultry are remembered and particlularly in a country like ours where our achievements in the internations sports arena is totally bad.
In business it is the competition and how you execute and capture the market will decide. so innovative ideas, planning at right time. coming out wiht soulutions on time, entering stratagic alliances for the marketing at right time etc., etc., will all decide. In business it is the survival of the fittest or strongest and those who enter early will certainly have the edge
a very good post

5. M O H A N - February 5, 2007

Agreed to both murali and vijays views!!

Truth, statstics and lies are how we can categorize and believe them.

Thats why americans harp so much about “Time to market” funda. Any thing a tad bit late or early is in the red in modern world.


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