The animal kingdom and the world of business are similar in the sense that they are both governed by “the law of the jungle”. The relationship between companies that have secured a market as opposed to those that have not is inexorable. In terms of strategic management, companies that have secured a market are generally the first movers, while those that have not are the late entrants. Since first movers are able to introduce their products and services to the market before anyone else, they either monopolize the market or become the leader — reaping the benefits of entering the market early on. However, the majority of companies are not first movers, but late entrants, because there can only be one first mover. At this time, there are three options for the late entrant. The first is to acknowledge the first mover and become a follower. The second is to issue a challenge, in hopes of eventually dethroning the first mover. The third is to pioneer a whole new market, thereby becoming the first mover. However, unlike the follower and challenger competing in an existing market, the market pioneer needs to read and analyze the trends satisfying consumer needs and creating demands, which is precisely the “Blue Ocean Strategy”.
This applies to us, who, for the most part, are not first movers — making us followers, challengers or pioneers, paving a new way to ultimately become the first mover. However, many students preparing to find a job are trying too hard to build up their credentials for their company of interest or field of specialization. Of course, it is essential to meet the requirements of the company, but it is unnecessary to go beyond the basic requirements. Building up your credentials just like the rest will make it more difficult to stand out from the crowd. Therefore, it is more effective to pave your own path in a new field, making you different from everyone else.
A couple years ago, there was a black-and-white silent film called “The Artist”, which won five Academy Awards. The male star of silent films decides not to ride the wave of change, insisting that sound is just a fad. He does not read into the current trend of sound films at the time. He becomes an alcoholic and a total wreck but makes a comeback with the help of the heroine. Although the plot of the film may seem a bit cliché, it is important to examine the main character’s transformation. Instead of following the crowd by starring in sound films, which already has become a “red ocean”, he decides to pioneer a new area of partner tap dancing with the heroine in the film — making it a smart move, as it becomes a huge success.
Global corporations, which once seemed invincible, are going through some rough times. Nokia, along with Kodak, Panasonic, and Sony, among many others, have experienced a deep depression in recent years. Even Apple, the icon of innovation, has been stumbling. Apple’s net profits in the first quarter this year are expected to decrease, which is a first in ten years. Once again, this goes to show that there is no eternal winner in a rapidly changing market. Furthermore, this suggests that there are several things to consider when designing our path in life. Take a moment to look at your surroundings, so you can discover your own “blue ocean”.
Translated by Julia Kim