Unfair Advantage

By September 15, 2008blog

Five years ago RegOnline had lots of competition. Most weren’t doing so hot and they all seemed to be doing very similar things like not putting their pricing or product online, requiring that you talk to a commissioned salesperson and sign multi-year contracts, etc.. Differentiating ourselves seemed relatively easy because the buyers wanted something different from what most of the industry was doing. We did it and gained a ton of market share.

I just finished Moneyball. It’s another brilliant book by Michael Lewis about game-changing strategies. By looking at the game and player statistics differently from all the other teams in the MLB, Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s were able to win as many games a year as teams with 3-4 times their payroll. Billy Beane discovered statistics that REALLY made a difference in winning games like On-Base Averages instead of Batting Averages. He was able to pick up players that no one else was looking at for really cheap. Until Billy Beane, almost all teams in the MLB relied heavily on the subjective opinions of their scouts. AND the scouts from different teams tended to think the same and go after the same players – bidding up the cost of players.

It’s another great example of how thinking beyond the pack can produce HUGE advantages in the marketplace. I’m constantly surprised by how many organizations just copy others in their industry. They listen to their competitors more than they listen to their markets. The good news is as long as the world continues its pack-mentality, there’s great opportunity to discover what no one else is looking at and to have an unfair advantage to profit.

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