Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Is No. 1 all it is trumpeted to be ?

I heard this one long ago: When you are number 2, you are the hero; when you are number 1, you are the target.
And I’ve seen it again and again in life. Getting to the number 1 spot is a thrill, staying there is another matter altogether. And yet there is this imperative to be number one.


If someone can ever do the cost / benefit analysis, I suspect it will turn out that the additional cost of maintaining a number 1 position will often not justify the small incremental benefit you get from this slot.
As they say, the best defense is not to be there.
This can sound counter-intuitive and defeatist. And it certainly runs the danger of turning into an excuse for lack of effort. But if it is pursued as a conscious strategy, it could be the most value maximizing plan in the long run.

One example from the business world which actually made being number 2 into an asset was the famous Avis campaign "We try harder because we are number 2".
Perhaps more firms (and people) should think about this.

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