Third is Better Than First. But at Cannes?
Speaking at the Cannes Lions Festival Monday morning Malcolm Gladwell delivered a simple but powerful message; being third (or second) is better (and more profitable) than being first.
Using the 1982 battle with Israel and Syria, Gladwell pointed out the reason Israel won (shot down 87 Syrian planes losing only 3 troops) is because it used the inventions of others. Namely, Russia and the United States.
Gladwell, with example after example made the point Russia, traditionally very centralized, is excellent at developing military strategy. The United States, with its decentralized military and access to a well-funded private sector, is excellent at creating intricate and effective devices of war. Israel, small and poor, is excellent at implementing the strategies and developments of others to their success.
Moving off the topic of war and onto business examples of first isn't best, Gladwell reminded the audience Steve Jobs didn't invent the personal computer, nor its graphical user interface. Xerox, a well funded operation with legions of engineers and technicians and culture of innovation, invented what Jobs eventually turned into an affordable device consumers could understand, use and afford.
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