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September 1, 2005

News & Opinion: Creating Unfair Advantage - Greetings and Welcome.

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 1:30 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

It is my pleasure to be your 800-CEO-Read blogger of the day. I appreciate this invitation from Jack and Todd. I will share with you some of the diamonds I discovered on my recent adventure: a half decade focused on asking the question "What do you mean, 'We became a gorilla by using unfair advantage.'?" I was surprised by what I found. I have some gems to share with you. For more details, see my latest book, The Power of Unfair Advantage: How to Create it, Build it and Use it to Maximum Effect.
I wrote the book because people kept telling me that they used something called unfair advantage to create Google, Yahoo and Cisco and those other gorillas. But they could not explain to me what unfair advantage was, nor could they tell me how to build one. But now I know.
I wanted a quick reading how-to form of book, similar to my prior book, High Tech Start Up. It had to help accelerate the creation of new enterprises focused on becoming kings of new hills in a global economy. They are the ones that go from zero to IPO within five years and become brands known around the world. I teach about such exciting companies to my students at Cornell University and use the lessons learned coaching selected new enterprises. For more than two decades I had the privilege of working in and watching emerging companies up close in Silicon Valley. They became examples in the new book
Did you know that some large corporations also use unfair advantage? I didnt. Along the research trail I was surprised to discover that successful vice presidents of established public corporations used it to create new products that grew to become new businesses in large divisions in fresh industries.
My research also revealed a lot of pain. It arose from ignorant leaders of new enterprises. I concluded that people who dont understand unfair advantage are doomed. They can start a new business but it will soon wither and die. Many of these premature deaths could be avoided if the founders grasped the essentials of how to build a powerful, unfair, competitive advantage.
So my bottom line is simple: Learn unfair advantage, or dont start. If you are thinking of doing a venture backed start-up or a new product family inside an established corporation, its a must-have skill for you.
Id love to hear any and all feedback about the ideas in the book and issues it raises for your companies and clients. Thank you, very much!

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.