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Will & Vision: How Latecomers Grow to Dominate Markets Hardcover – September 6, 2001

5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.

From the Back Cover

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (September 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 007137549X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071375498
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #993,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Serge J. Van Steenkiste on February 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Gerard J. Tellis and Peter N. Golder methodically and empirically demonstrate that pioneers are rarely rewarded for their efforts at the end of the day. The confusion between pioneers and current market leaders lies in the exclusion of failures (survival bias), tendency for managers to refer to their own firm as the pioneer (social desirability or self-reports bias), and self-serving market definitions (self-serving bias). For example, the Gillette Company is the oldest surviving firm in the disposable razor market. However, the Gillette Company was not the firm that first commercialized the razor. Similarly, Intel was not the firm that first brought the microprocessor or CPU to the market, even it has been perceived as the pioneer in that industry.
Tellis and Golder brilliantly build on over a decade of in-depth research to show that vision, persistence, relentless innovation, financial commitment, and asset leverage are the real factors that drive the superior performance of enduring leaders like the Gillette Company and Intel.
1. In their examination of "Vision", Tellis and Golder take their distance from the traditional definition of that much abused business term. Often, vision is indeed synonymous with broad mission statements used to excite and inspire stakeholders of an organization. In Counter-intuitive Marketing, Kevin J. Clancy and Peter C. Krieg concurred that most companies do not have much of a vision (See especially pg. 74 - 86). Vision has two key components according to Tellis and Golder: 1. A focus on the often-decried mass market with its dynamic and evolving needs and 2. A unique perspective of serving that mass market. For example, in contrast to its top competitors, AOL has stressed from the beginning convenience, ease to use, community, and ubiquity.
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Format: Hardcover
This book comes out with a hypothesis challenging conventional thinking which assumes that pioneers dominate markets. Collecting and analyzing historical data from over 66 industry segments the conclusions by the authors is baffling. This is not a case where statistics is used conveniently to support untested theories using available tools to prove a point. The approach to understanding market dominance and the role of pioneers and followers is path breaking. Contrary to common belief, data shows that in many cases the pioneers have as little as 9 % market share. The ingredients for success are therefore not being there first, but doing the right things.
Five factors that emerge as key to ensuring long term success and market dominance are Vision, Persistence, Financial Commitment, Innovation and Asset leverage- factors that are structurally related in a causal chain starting with a clear vision for a mass market. There are innumerable examples and detailed cases where the inability to see a mass market for innovative products has resulted in late comers grabbing the market from incumbents. Fear of cannibalization of existing products, bureaucracy, complacency, are some other causes that stifle growth.
After explaining the hypothesis, a good and crisp summary of the conclusions from the historical data, every chapter proceeds sequentially to substantiate the findings. This is a rare combination of business history, statistical analysis and strategy. It is this unique combination and the unconventional wisdom that is bound to make this book a classic in its own right. The range of products covered varies from diapers to couriers and computers. IBM, Microsoft, Fed Ex, Xerox, Gillette are some companies that are discussed in detail.
Comparing it with other books on similar research, my prescription for business would be:
Innovators Dilemma + Will and Vision + Built to Last + Good to Great = Road to Market dominance.
Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Few business principles engender as much faith among people as the principle of the pioneer's advantage. For example, Ries and Trout, in their book on the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, boldly state the "first immutable law of marketing" to be "It's better to be first, than it is to be better." Brand recognition, brand loyalty, consumer inertia, network effects, experience effects, access to distribution channels - these are all reasons for why the first movers in a market could have an advantage over others in the quest for market domination. Consultants, academics, and managers note the many examples of pioneers who appear to have done very well in their markets. Look, they say, at Gillette (in safety razors), Hewlett-Packard (laser printers), Microsoft (PC operating systems), and Amazon.com (online bookselling). All of these cases appear to prove the pioneer's advantage.
Tellis and Golder argue quite convincingly that these examples prove exactly the opposite: pioneers are much more likely to be cursed to failure than blessed with long term success! The authors show that the real pioneers in the markets listed above are not the current market leaders. Gillette entered the safety razor market in 1903, but a company called Star, they find, had already introduced a safety razor in 1876. H-P entered the laser printer market in 1984, but IBM had one on the market in 1975. Microsoft introduced MS-DOS in 1981, but Digital Research had introduced its CP/M operating system back in 1975. Amazon.com entered the online bookselling business in 1995, but Clbooks.com/books.com was selling books online in 1993. Most of these pioneers are forgotten now - many are long dead. Yet the myth of the pioneer's advantage lives on.
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