Make better means

When you enter a large market, there will be incumbents. They may be manufacturers or authors, tech startups or institutions.

We read and write about how to compete with such forces. How new solutions must be 10x better than old ones.

But what about the journey to the solution? The means to a purported 10x end?

Compare Uber and Lyft:

They both do the same thing. They both have identical apps. They both compete on price with the same promotions and features (pool/line).

But they both do it in different ways.

Uber connotes a premium, black car vibe. “Everyone’s private driver.” Lyft says “Everyone can be a driver.” Lyft fist-bumps passengers. Lyft encourages passengers to sit in the front seat.

Yet fist-bumps and seating are a means to the end of traveling A –> B. They are not 10x improvements to the end.

Or are they?

A fist-bump doesn’t cost anything. Neither does a suggestion through a cracked window. And this is what great startups do. They make something out of nothing.

When you enter a market riddled with incumbents, you will probably not launch with a 10x better solution. But you can introduce 10x better means. And you should. It’s free.