When First Mover Doesn’t Help You

An engineer I know was infuriated to find that a software architecture proposal a friend had done several years ago and presented to Microsoft as an enhancement to work done at InterProphet appeared in another company’s patent claims – even though he’d presented a similar idea to Microsoft long before. “Well, I guess I can at least go to my grave claiming we did it first” he laments. And as I was there – I can vouch for them. They did it first. This happens occasionally, and we have to ask ourselves “Does being first really matter”?

First mover isn’t always best mover if you’re dependent on a behemoth like Microsoft. It’s when the market is ready – even IBM and Cisco face this problem. The first mover in Cisco’s area was Proteon. They had 100% of the router market. Haven’t heard of them? Not surprising.

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