Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Very thin margin of winning

Last night in Iowa, Mitt Romney officially edged Rick Santorum by eight votes. There were 122,255 ballots cast. If our math is right (and feel free to check us), the difference comes to about 0.00654 percent of all votes 
By now everyone who follows American politics would have heard that Mitt Romney won Iowa Caucuses by 8 votes.  Out of hundred of thousands of ballots casted, margin of 8 votes come out to be less than 0.01% of all votes.  Talk about a thin margin, it could not have been any more slimmer margin than this (only 7 other even slimmer margins are possible!).

They were lot closer than anyone might have imagined;
your close competitors are lot closer than you think

What is often the case is that your closest competitor is a lot closer than you might think.  Or they could be beating you in some regards.  While they might be behind in certain areas, their product might have some features that you were not thinking of or neglected to offer.  It could be that they have stronger marketing team and more focused message.  Whatever the case is we all too often underestimate the threat of competitors grabbing market shares away from you.

Tech industry is full of such examples.  Look at how Research In Motion is getting killed by Apple, and how MySpace has fallen so far off from the social media throne.  If you were to wind back the calendar just 5 years, it is hard to believe how yesteryear's winners suffered such fantastic losses.

Winners are decided by slim margins.  And that margin grows and grows until it becomes too much to ignore.  Your best defense should be always mindful of what others are doing, and counter-innovate to capture the user's (customer's) imagination.

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