Ever wondered what the predictors of wild success are?  Wouldn’t it be helpful if we could know on the front end how to spot what will succeed?  One of the major conclusions of The Strategy Paradox is that one of the essential ingredients of front-running success is a differentiated product.  That is, you’ve identified a winner and built a position that is very, very difficult to copy.  Now, that’s not news.  It’s long been known that the real winners occupy that position.  What is a new understanding is that in order to be unique, to have a differentiated product, you have to choose early.  And that means that if you’re wrong…you’re often out of business.  And so Raynor’s conclusion that big winners have a lot more in common with those companies that bet incorrectly and fail big-time than with those companies that never bet and hang in the middle ground of the also-ran.  That’s what Michael Porter might think of as no-man’s land on the productivity frontier.

Now, I love it when thinking collides.  One of my favorite books in the last year has been Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win.  Absolutely a fantastic read!  There was a great post today over on the Mavericks at Work blog.  Check out the synergy between what we’ve been talking about and the Maverick’s take.

"There’s no one right way to be a maverick, no single rule for success
in an industry. It’s being different that makes all the difference,
building a company on a distinctive and disruptive line of sight into
the future of your field. The one sure route to failure is to park your
company in the middle of the road—where there are, as that old Texas
saying goes, only yellow lines and dead armadillos."

Now that is a distinctive way to say it.  "Building a company on a distinctive and disruptive line of sight into the future of your field."  Oh my…it leads to either wild success…or a flame out…but not an also-ran finish.

Distinctive and Disruptive