Innovation means being first in the market. If you are not the first, you are not innovating, but you are trying to improve something that is already present. That’s why being first is extremely important if you want to succeed and innovate. Although many people think that they can improve something that already exists with their product, they will always be behind the one who innovated first.
If you don’t have a multi-billion dollar company, don’t try to improve a product with your new product. In the smartphones market, Apple was the first and they have been able to surf the wave of money for a long period. Then Google, with a completely different business model, tried to get into a new market, as a second gamer, and succeeded. Google was able to compete against the first, because the company had a different model, which was supported by billion of dollars from one of the largest tech corporations on Earth. Microsoft tried the same, but they failed. Even though they had a large quantity of cash to invest, they were using the exact business model that Apple chose to adopt. However it wasn’t enough, because they were late in the market and they weren’t innovating.
At the same time, if we look at the social networks history, we will see that being the first doesn’t matter. Facebook wasn’t the first social network on the internet. There were dozens of people who were using different social networks. Many schools had their own social networks, but Facebook was able to overwhelm all of them. How? I don’t think it was about the design or the good system that Mark Zuckerberg developed. It was about being at Harvard, one of the most prestigious University in the United States.
In life, there are leaders and followers. At that time, the students were the leaders who were able to lead million of other students from different Universities in a single social network. As always, you also need to have luck in order to succeed and something like Facebook doesn’t happen every day. Although they weren’t the first, they became the only point of reference in that market. That’s why Google Plus, a great and wonderful project built by Google, is struggling to succeed. In this context, as in the Microsoft’s one, money can’t help you to succeed in a market that has already been taken by another company.
Innovators are the one who succeed and they are always first, because that’s what matters when you are building a product. If you are building the pinterest for cats, or the instagram for nerds, you are wrong. That doesn’t mean innovating, it means trying to adapt something that already exists.
The only way to win is to have an idea that people don’t have. Develop it, release it and see how the world reacts to that. When a billion dollar company will knock at your door, tell them to go away and innovate.