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Change the Rules, Then Cross the Street

Posted by on March 10, 2008

Street Crossing SignYesterday I was waiting at an intersection for the light to turn green so I could cross the street. There were not many cars around at that time. Diagonally across the street, there was another group of people also waiting to cross. Everyone was looking around, checking for cars to see if maybe they could just cross the street on a red (without waiting for the green). All of a sudden, one person calmly starts crossing the street. A few seconds later, everyone else follows. Why?

Because of fear. People are scared to take risks, to be different, and to stand out. However, if one person leads the way, then the rest will follow. The question is how can you be that one person? How can you (or your company) be the first one to cross the street? You have to change the rules.

So what if every company is charging $100 for that widget, or if every other consultant is charging $80/hr for their services. Those guys have already crossed the street and everyone else has already followed. Change the rules; make it so that the other folks are following YOU to the other side and not the other way around.

Look at what Google did, they came in and changed the rules. Other companies were charging for e-mail, analytics, or other tools. Google gave everything away for free, now every other search company is playing catch up trying to cross the street before Google.

So the next time you are trying to come up with a new product or service, ask yourself, “what can I do to change the rules, how can I cross the street so that others will follow me?”

Just be careful to look both ways before you cross…

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