What happens when you are the small fish in a big pond? No matter how ambitious or how imaginative you may be, you are competing for the same food as the much bigger fish who have been feasting in these waters long before you showed up. Competition is fierce and, if you’re joining the game late and with fewer resources, you start off at a significant disadvantage.
Success isn’t impossible, of course. Apple was hardly the first company to come out with an MP3 player or a smartphone, but the market dominance of the iPod and iPhone speaks for itself. Trying to scrape out your own little cut of market share in these shark-infested waters is remarkably difficult. What if there was a different way?
“The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.”
The quote above comes from Peter Thiel, who you might recognize as the famed Facebook angel investor, PayPal co-founder, and Y Combinator part-time partner. A prime example of these “champions” is Elon Musk. His success did not come by accident, as illustrated by the infographic published on VisualCapitalist.com. He made strategic decisions along the way, like choosing to read for 10 hours a day as a small child.
Image credit: Maurizio Pesce (Flickr)
When he got involved with PayPal, there really wasn’t another online peer-to-peer payment system in place quite like it. When he decided to start Tesla, there really wasn’t another prominent automaker that focused entirely on electric vehicles. When he decided to start SpaceX, there really wasn’t another commercial space exploration company quite like it either.
He didn’t try to compete in existing markets; he created his own markets with his own unique businesses. He has the creative vision to think outside the box and peer far into the future. What started out with an unattainable electric sports car has evolved into a brand where hundreds of thousands of people pre-ordered a Tesla Model 3 in less than 24 hours.
Part of the reason why you may be motivated to get into professional blogging or Internet marketing is that you want to get out of the rat race. If you win at the rat race, you’re still a rat. If you run your own path, you can be your own success story. You can be your own competition. You can be your own champion.
It might be argued that the reusable rockets tested and made by SpaceX are competing against the Blue Origin rockets put forth by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, but this has come way after SpaceX was originally formed. And even then, they’re not really competing against one another, because they are both striving toward common goals for the greater good.
They’ve created a new market where they don’t have to compete.
In the context of blogging, Internet marketing and making money on the Internet, this doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel. John Chow was not the first person to talk about making money online, but his story is unique and his journey has been different than everyone else’s. Tesla isn’t the first company to manufacture electric cars, but it’s doing it in an entirely different way. You need to bring to the table what only you can bring to the table.
You can certainly borrow inspiration from the success stories that came before us. We can all celebrate the victories of visionaries like Sergey Brin and Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. And while we can learn from their experiences, we ultimately need to forge our own paths. Because you don’t have to compete when you are truly one of a kind.