can’t remember where i swiped it from, but best beats first is an interesting counterargument to the ubiquitous ‘first mover’ platitude:

“In fact, being first seldom proves to be a sustainable advantage and usually proves to be a liability. VisiCalc, for example, was the first major personal-computer spreadsheet. Where is VisiCalc today? Do you know anyone who uses it? And what of the company that pioneered it? Gone; it doesn’t even exist. VisiCalc eventually lost out to Lotus 1-2-3, which itself lost out to Excel. Lotus then went into a tailspin and was saved only by selling out to IBM. Similarly, the first portable computers came from now-dead companies like Osborne Computer. Today we use portables primarily from such companies as Dell and IBM. Or consider the ubiquitous Palm-Pilot. It was hardly the first to market, lagging years behind early leaders Sharp and — in particular — Apple, with its high-profile Newton MessagePad.”

“The pattern of the second (or third or fourth) market entrant’s prevailing over the early trailblazers shows up throughout the entire history of technological and economic change.”

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