David and Goliath by Osmar Schindler (c. 1888) — Wikipedia

Are you the underdog and you don’t know it?

David and Goliath

Growing up I remember watching this special show on Discovery Channel, they explained with scientific facts several biblical episodes. The one that struck my attention the most and I still remember until today, was the well-known story of David and Goliath. The small shepherd kid who defeated and gigantic mighty warrior just with a slinger.

However, the interesting part for me, was how science had been able to demonstrate that, despite common beliefs, Goliath was not the one in an advantageous position, it was David.


I’ll let best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell explain it in detail, during his most recent TED talk. He shares my fascination about everything that lays behind this story, its untold truths, and even popular misconception. Basically, why we still referring to David as the underdog?

Gladwell’s talk summarises all I remember from that Discovery Channel show, probably about 15 years ago.

So, what does this have to do with technology or business? A lot.

As we know, the phrase “David versus Goliath” references a scenario where a smaller and weaker opponent faces a bigger and stronger adversary. Basically, a big and well-established company against a small business or startup.

The real question is, what if you are Goliath? A giant and powerful entity supposed (and perceived) to be undefeatable, but threaten by smaller competitors that are able to move faster, adapt accordingly and be really good just at one thing (a product or service); just like David and his slinger.

What if you are the underdog and you don’t know it?

I think this story, can also have different connotations when applied to business. First, nothing is at seems, and even the least of the competitors can represent the biggest threat, especially if size and strength are actually pulling you down, like Goliath and his armour.

Second, and probably the most important element, comes to clearly understanding the circumstances and choosing the right tools and approach; or “choose your battles”. Because I’d like to think that if David would have be in a fight hand-by-hand against the giant, the results would have probably been different, and we would have had a completely different story.

Could be the same to your company?