This is a continuation of yesterday’s blog post http://lawfirm4-0.typepad.com/law_firm_40_blog/2012/04/if-it-were-really-a-good-idea-.html . . .
Tom Fishburne, the Marketoonist, who designed the cartoon I posted yesterday, wrote his own blog post about it. He says something that we’ve known in legal marketing circles for a long time:
“In innovation, we often fixate too much on the competition. We benchmark and validate ideas based what everyone else is doing. This cycle of one-upmanship makes it hard to launch something truly new and different. It also creates a lot of me-toos.”
He includes a quote from David Brooks’ piece, “The Creative Monopoly,” about PayPal founder Peter Thiel. Always thoughtful Brooks writes:
“Instead of being slightly better than everybody else in a crowded and established field, it’s often more valuable to create a new market and totally dominate it. The profit margins are much bigger, and the value to society is often bigger, too … He’s talking about doing something so creative that you establish a distinct market, niche and identity. You’ve established a creative monopoly and everybody has to come to you if they want that service, at least for a time.”
And Fishburne concludes by quoting innovation writer David Hall: “If you’re not meaningfully unique, then you’d better be cheap.”
Good friend and colleague Jeff Yerkey, Web and Interactive Director for Right Hat, wrote after seeing the Fishburne cartoon: “Reminds me of the old law firm saw, ‘Nobody wants to be first, but everybody wants to be first to be second.'”