Don’t Follow the Leader

Come and hear the voice of the man they call the Trojan Horse
Ride on the outside, with inner force
Throw you off course, of course, you missed the runway
We mash, like the first kickoff, on a Sunday
Collisions, divisions of niggaz, down to listen
And when we on the mission, call your mortician
Join the party, I can provide the army!!
First we flank em then we spank em.. I outrank em!
You can call me Citizen Kane, for my reign
Ten years great, one of the ten great

Ice Cube, Fuck Dying, (Korn- Follow The Leader)

Ever hear of entrepreneurs state the market cap of the industry they are in as the sole reason of having hockey stick results? Watch Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank for 5 minutes. They are followers. Don’t be these guys. I think fashion design is a good example. Did you know that the luxury industry alone has produced $318 Billion Dollars in Sales as of 2013. In any industry there are giants, but giants are considered dwarfs in the fashion market. Ask anyone to name brands in luxury fashion. Those are the brands who control a hella portion of the market, with a hair of the market for the rest…

This is why I quit becoming a filmmaker. For me it wasn’t the allure of Hollywood, it was the allure of creative freedom, that everyone will watch your great movies and such… But reality is. that the majority of the actors are ran by tyranny and that is Hollywood. Armed with zero leverage, and massive competition for few spots available, as a mentor of mine, Mark Prusten said “The air gets thinner while you rise to the top.” This goes for most of the arts. Watch Alexander McQueen’s Documentary, McQueen and I. But. aside from the arts, major industries have large barriers to entry. Meaning the start up costs are high, or you have to have a certain degree of skill to enter the market… Let alone stay there. But most industries need an artistic revamp. That can be your competitive advantage!

Following a market simply because it has 318 Billion in sales is alluring and by proportion alone, capturing say 1% means you can become a big time player. But markets don’t work this way! and can be a short route to failure if you’re not careful in any business. PC’s, Search Engines, Social Media, were all small low cap businesses before the leaders took over. Be a leader in a small pond at first then progress… It makes sense, from experience, and from reading everyone who has done it started out as a guppy in their world and went on to out maneuver and conquer in their respective market by keeping small and allusive.

From Getting Real by 37 Signals

Don’t follow the leader Marketers (and all human beings) are well trained to follow the leader. The natural instinct is to figure out what’s working for the competition and then try to outdo it – to be cheaper than your competitor who competes on price, or faster than the competitor who competes on speed. The problem is that once a consumer has bought someone else’s story and believes that lie, persuading the consumer to switch is the same as persuading him to admit he was wrong. And people hate admitting that they’re wrong.
Instead, you must tell a different story and persuade listeners that your story is more important than the story they currently believe. If your competition is faster, you must be cheaper. If they sell the story of health, you must sell the story of convenience. Not just the positioning x/y axis sort of “We are cheaper” claim, but a real story that is completely different from the story that’s already being told.
–Seth Godin, author/entrepreneur (from Be a Better Liar)

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