How could you become the first

Speed is a powerful source of leverage.

If you’re fortunate enough to be the first one through the door, then it puts you in a position where you can achieve a goal that would otherwise be insurmountable.

Hell, even if your work isn’t the best in the world, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got the first mover advantage. Everyone else is forgotten.

Here’s one of my favorite case studies of this.

At the height of the second world war, the military asked six of our country’s top manufacturing companies to submit proposals for a device to help their pilots determine the elevation of their aircrafts.

Polaroid, according to the biography of their founder, sent in a working prototype before any of the other five competitors had even acknowledged the request. That’s speed.

Can you imagine how foolish those other brands must have felt when they heard the news?

You snooze, you lose, baby.

Polaroid ultimately went on to design and manufacture numerous products for the armed services over the next several decades. They earned a sterling reputation as one of the companies working toward national goals. Land, their company founder, even served as a consultant to various government organizations and advised presidents on scientific matters.

And it all started with a moment of leverage, enabled by speed.

How fast are you? What are you willing to give up in order to get there before anyone else?

Both in my entrepreneurial and employee endeavors, my tradeoff has always been quality. Not that my work is shoddy or anything. I’m proud of all of my projects.

But something I learned very early in my career was, the point isn’t to be the finest, it’s to be the first. The point isn’t to be perfect, it’s to be the only. To create the category of which you are the standard bearer.

There will always be time to make technical adjustments later, if at all. For now, just get there. The leverage of doing so makes everything else easier.

You’re not constantly fighting against the riptide, you’re letting yourself get carried by a superior force.

It reminds me of a memorable line from one of my favorite stock market movies. The founder of the fledgling investment firm tells his executive team the following:

What have we told you since the first day you walked into this office? There are three ways to make a living in this business. Be first, be smarter, or cheat. Well, we don’t cheat. And although we like to think we have some pretty smart people here in this room, it sure is a hell of lot easier to just be first.

Wow, sounds like my kind of boss.

For anyone who wants to generate a sustainable competitive advantage, figuring out how to be first is a smart use of your time. 

Will your speed create a stronger sense of urgency in others when they notice it in you?


Daily updates straight to your inbox.


Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
Sign up for daily updates


Daily updates straight to your inbox.

Copyright ©2020 HELLO, my name is Blog!