I just saw the ad about HP Z1 workstation and it claims to be the first 27″ all-in-one Workstation in the world. Hello! Never heard of the iMac? How about the first Xperia Smartphone from Sony? Really, how can that sway me into buying the product? Intel went so far as to invent a new word: Ultrabook. What is an Ultrabook anyway? It’s meaningless, it’s just a catch phrase so that companies can feel good about being the first to release an ultrabook.
What’s with the obsession about being the first? Did you know that being the first sucks? Being the first means you have no idea whether what you’re doing is right or wrong. You can’t learn from something that does not exist since you’re actually the first of its kind (assuming that you are, not just you claim it to be) . You’ll be doing a lot of trials and errors, and I bet it will be mostly errors.
We all know how Google gets bested Yahoo. Friendster who was the first social network site got forced to pivot into a social gaming site by Facebook. MySpace got sold for approximately $35M in 2011 after the whooping $850M acquisition by News Corporation in 2005.
Being the first means you’re being a guinea pig for the next company which will learn from your mistake and past you by. Don’t be obsessed about being the first, be obsessed about being the best.