When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, what they did was not to make a better phone. This was a point that was missed out by then market leader Nokia. Hence what Nokia did in response, was to try and further strengthen their Symbian OS, and come up with a better phone. But they were still playing the wrong game. The game was not of phones anymore. It was of making in-pocket computers – i.e. devices which incidentally had the capability to make phone calls as well.
When Amazon had just started out selling books online, the then market leader Barnes & Noble was selling more books in a day though their offline bookstores than Amazon would in a year. But Amazon continued to plough on, tail tucked between the legs, unworried about what others were doing. We know what happened next.
There is limited time, money and energy we possess. The resources are finite, whether for a country, a company or a citizen. What we have in abundance though is mind power, available at our beck and call. Of course hard work is important like Amazon proved – with its grit and determination to come up the curve. Equally important is smart work, as Apple proved, while creating a whole new ecosystem. Samsung too soon followed, nicely taking inspiration from Apple, and being agile enough to change, despite not being first movers, and also saddled with their own legacy of dumbphones.
While these giants are all familiar brands today, they each took several years to get to this stage. Some amount of struggle is indeed good and necessary (ref: praise the struggle(r)). But struggling for the sake of it, in the wrong direction, may have us end up like Nokia.