Monday, August 29, 2005

Keeping the peak of the Long Tail going

Here, in short, is one strategy to maintaining the upper end of the Long Tail - how to get and keep market dominence.

The question has to be: "Do you really want it that bad?"

"What Google WILL do is roll-out incremental products at a blinding pace. Not long ago, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin explained to me that rapid development is an important key to market dominance.

'What you want to do,' he said, 'is listen to your customers and bring out every two weeks improved versions that would each take your competitor two months to complete. That's when you are on a rocket -- they can't keep up so they can't compete. They lose hope and pretty soon you have the market pretty much to yourself.'

That pace of technical development, which probably isn't sustainable for long at any company, isn't POSSIBLE at all at more mature companies like AOL, Yahoo, and especially Microsoft. That adolescent energy is the mojo that makes a startup scarier to Bill Gates than a mature competitor. He knows that if Microsoft ever takes a big dive, it will be because of a Google, not a Yahoo, and certainly not an AOL."
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