In a piece called “The Scarcity Shortage” Seth Godin states the following:
“So what’s scarce now? Respect. Honesty. Good judgment. Long-term relationships that lead to trust. None of these things guarantee loyalty in the face of cut-rate competition, though. So to that list I’ll add this: an insanely low-cost structure based on outsourcing everything except your company’s insight into what your customers really want to buy. If the work is boring, let someone else do it, faster and cheaper than you ever could. If your products are boring, kill them before your competition does. Ultimately, what’s scarce is that kind of courage–which is exactly what you can bring to the market.”
What Godin actually describes is the process of Creative Destruction – which was formulated by economist Joseph Schumpeter back in 1942 – and which raises the question how a company enjoying a temporary monopoly should deal with this process.
But what puzzles me is that a lot of the current market leaders in different industries probably know that they are enjoying a temporary monopoly but still aren’t able to kill their own darlings. One of the reasons could be that their success is based on a set of beliefs which dismisses all new answers to a certain customer need.
Which for me raises a more fundamental question for vested industry players namely: how do they organize for coming up with a new market changing product or service? And yes, after that they need courage as well to act on that belief.