Overhype: First mover advantage

“Could you please Xerox this page?”

“Please switch on All-Out”

“Wash it with Surf”

“Stick it with Fevicol”

Many of the first mover brands have become so successful that we associate the product category need with them. Sadly this brand recall often does not translate into product sales and consumers are agnostic about which brand of Photocopying, liquid mosquito repellant, detergent powder, adhesive they use.

Couchsurfing has been in existence for a decade helping travelers to find economical safe accommodation. However it needed a late incumbent like AirBnB to come up with a commercially viable business plan that took care of the issues like billing, security, advertising & taxes.

Most first movers are unsure about how their product is going to be used and spend a lot of time & energy in promoting the technology. The pioneers are sometimes focused on so many use-cases and markets that their vision is clouded. The incumbent free rides on the market research and buyer education and is better poised to make a focused brand targeting the most compelling

The first mover often is saddled with high failure rate due to pricing, communication/promotions, operational jitters, poor commercialization or plain vanilla economic viability. Sometimes they don’t have enough resources to operate long enough to see success. Other times they are not able to scale up fast enough to fully capitalize on the demand. The incumbent not only faces lesser risks of product acceptance, but knows better what will work and where to invest to get quick returns.

It is easy to get an entrepreneur excited by giving him a story about being pioneers and giving them a unique proposition that is 5-10 years ahead of its time. However most people don’t realize that “Success is not achieved through cutting edge technology but by solving real life problems”. Rarely is the market two small for 2 players to thrive and second mover is not a bad strategy for an agile firm.

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Game Review – Companies of Heroes 2

CoH2 is a long awaited sequence to the universally acclaimed Company of Heroes. It tried to combine the good points of the original game and better graphics with the lesser romanticized saga of the Second World War.

Premise –

A World War II themed real-time strategy game. It features the struggle on the Eastern Front.

The Best Bits –

  • True sight system is new and I hope similar systems are used in any upcoming strategy games.
  • The focus on the Soviets in WWII is a welcome change from the usual, done-to-death western front.
  • The sound effects give a feel of good research being done on the aural part.

What could have been better –

  • The thought to inculcate the best bits from the original game into this game essentially ended up making CoH2 more like a big DLC with slightly improved graphics.
  • The overall visual effects achieved do not feel worth the computer resources needed to play at a reasonable graphic setting.
  • The story and the characters are a big letdown.

My takeaway –

For people who have played and loved the original game, this is not how you want to see a sequel. If you are new to the series, you may give it a try. 5/10.