On September 7, 1979, Bill Rasmussen launched ESPN and did two things not seen before:
- It was all sports, all the time.
- It was on 24/7, which was largely unheard of at the time.
They weren’t “the best” at either of those things — they were the first and only!
It reminds me of a quote from Arthur Schopenhauer:
Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Rasmussen wasn’t aiming at the same target as the other TV networks; his target was invisible to the rest of them.
Blackberry to iPhone
In 2007, Blackberry was a great device and Schopenhauer would likely have called them a “talent”, as no one else could reach their target.
Then, of course, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone and flipped everything around.
The best web portal?
Google did the same thing in 1998. Every major company out there was trying to have the best web portal, jammed with links and information to keep people on the site as long as possible. Yahoo was the leader, and everyone else was chasing them.
Google didn’t want to make a portal, nor try to keep people trapped on their site. They made a powerful, ridiculously simple search engine and changed the web forever.
Hitting a popular target can help you become a solid company. Hitting a target that no one else can see is a revolution.