Lessons Learned: Why Being Small Means You Can Destroy Apple
For a tiny startup competing against $1B+ behemoths dominating the technology space, it might seem more saturated than a bucket of lard. It might feel like all the innovation to be done is done. It might seem like the gaps may have been filled.
This isn’t true.
Startups have three advantages over Goliath.
1. Speed. When a large company pivots, everything could go to shit, the company could go bankrupt, and hundreds of shareholders would panic and drive the value of the company into the dirt. When a 2-person startup pivots, they wake up the next day and start implementing the new changes. The larger the ship, the slower it is to turn.
2. Focus. The larger a company gets, typically, the more features and services they provide. Being a small startup gives you the luxury to start with one very specific functionality. If you can solve a problem extremely well, better than what’s currently available, you have a fighting chance. The goal is scaling that, listening to customers, spending time on the right things, and serving them better. You can see the pain points that these big companies might be missing. That’s where you beat them.
3. Being the Underdog. Large companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon aren’t expecting someone to come from under their nose, sweep their ankles, and completely destroy them like a festering disease. That’s where you could come in. It might seem impossible today, but 15 years ago, it seemed impossible for General Motors to get overtaken. Tesla took that trophy. Everybody’s expecting you to fail. This can be a good thing, use it to your advantage.
Of course, these three things aren’t quite enough to topple the giants. A lot more goes into it. Being insanely skilled, having the grit to weather the storms, having a smart and dynamic team, polishing your strengths but hiring to cover your weaknesses, having money to burn, luck, etc.
It’s not an easy gig to start a startup… but if we wanted security, we would’ve grabbed one of these blankets.