Although the "first mover's advantage," a belief that the first company to make inroads into a marketplace has an almost insurmountable advantage, has gained acceptance in recent years, these authors contend it is a faulty conviction based on spotty research. Tellis (who teaches at USC's business school) and Golder (of NYU's Stern School) contend that there are three primary reasons for this incorrect principle. First, the research that has been done tends to downplay those pioneers who failed. Second, the studies tend to interview current leaders of successful companies who may not have a firm grasp of the industry's history. And three, the research tends to define markets very narrowly. After spending the last 10 years studying the history of 66 industries, the authors conclude that "the real causes of enduring market leadership are vision and will. Enduring market leaders have a revolutionary and inspiring vision of the mass market and they exhibit an indomitable will to realize that vision." The authors present countless examples to back their points. People who endorse the first mover's advantage will probably not be swayed by Tellis and Golder's argument, citing personal examples. But this work is bound to make companies question whether they need to be first and also reexamine just how strong their devotion to a particular market is.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
The revolutionary study that debunks the myth of pioneering advantage and reveals the real drivers of enduring market leadership.
Critical Praise for Will & Vision:
"History will prove Will & Vision to be an important milestone in our journey to understanding how to manage innovation effectively."From the foreword by Clayton Christensen, Professor, Harvard Business School, and author, The Innovator's Dilemma
"If investors and e-entrepreneurs had understood the lessons highlighted by Tellis and Golder, billions of dollars and years of torment could have been saved. The authors present a compelling case through insightful analysis and fascinating stories of corporate successes and failures. Executives who don't understand these lessons will end up on the scrap heap of history."D. Grant Freeland, Vice President, The Boston Consulting Group
"Will & Vision identifies what makes for enduring market leadership. Later market entrants, take heart."Philip Kotler, Professor, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University
"Rare research-based insight shows that winners will be those executives that can understand when and how to apply the power of vision and will. A must-read for strategists who want to achieve enduring market leadership."David Aaker, Vice-Chairman, Prophet Brand Strategy, andauthor, Managing Brand Equity and Building Strong Brands
"Tellis and Golder persuasively debunk the widely held belief that first movers will be rewarded with long-run market leadership.George Day, Professor, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
"An important, if controversial, book. Particularly effective is the fugue-like weaving of the different histories into the successive chapters."Joel Huber, Professor, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Gillette entered the safety razor market decades after it began but has dominated it ever since.
Microsoft dominates many markets but has pioneered none.
Amazon is the dominant but not the first Internet bookseller.
These examples and dozens more like them prove that, contrary to popular wisdom, being first to market guarantees nothingnot name recognition, not market share, and certainly not long-term market leadership. The extensively researched and thoroughly readable Will & Vision discovers five key principles that are the true drivers of enduring market leadership:
- Vision of the mass market
- Managerial persistence
- Relentless innovation
- Financial commitment
- Asset leverage
Influential business professors Gerard Tellis and Peter Golder draw powerful and surprising conclusions from their years of in-depth research on market entry and new product markets. Case studies of market leaders including Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Federal Express, Procter & Gamble, and Charles Schwabalong with analyses of archival reports written as close as possible to when events actually occurredshow how the five key drivers have remained remarkably similar from the nineteenth century to today. The authors contrast the behavior of firms that endured as leaders with those that had as good as or a better chance to do the same.
Andmost importantthey show how firms today can follow the examples of long-term market leaders to seize substantially greater market share regardless of the cost or complexity of their products.
"I didn't know enough to quit. I was a dreamer who believed in the 'gold at the foot of the rainbow' promise, and continued in the path where the wise ones feared to tread . . .And that is the reason, the only reason, why there is a Gillette today."King Gillette
Based on over a decade of in-depth researchdrawn from hundreds of books and thousands of articlesWill & Vision presents an unbiased portrait of the true causes of enduring market leadership. And whether for photographic paper in the nineteenth century or online stock trading in the twenty-first, the answers it provides are surprising, historically substantiated, and thoroughly convincing.