Part 2: Speed of Learning is the New Unfair Advantage

In this new world, speed of learning has become the new unfair advantage.

Companies that learn fast, outlearn their competition and get to build what customers really want.

It's important to emphasize that speed is relative. You don't need to go as fast as a Facebook or Amazon to win unless you're directly competing with them. In other words, you only need to go faster than your immediate competition to gain a learning advantage.

Tesla is a good illustration of this point.

Building a car is certainly harder than launching a digital product, and we'd naturally expect it to take longer. Tesla took 2.5 years to go from idea its first car delivery to a customer. To put that in perspective, it takes an average car company 10 years to do this. Compared to an average car company, Tesla was moving at light speed, which was a key aspect of their success.

We'll cover how they did actually pulled this off in a future case-study. But for now, remember that you only have to outlearn your immediate competitors to win.

When you outlearn your competitors once, you stand to launch a new innovative product and capture market share. But whatever is worth copying will eventually be copied. It is only by continuously outlearning your competition, do you stay relevant to your customers and see your business models thrive and grow.

This is the essence of Continuous Innovation:

As opposed to stop and go innovation, continuous innovation is a mindset of constantly challenging the status quo — even if you currently are the status quo.

Every company needs to simultaneously optimize their existing business model (sustain) and search for the next evolution of the business model (disrupt).

It's about simultaneously playing offense and defence with the competition.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Speed of learning is the new unfair advantage.
  • Speed is not absolute, but relative to your specific industry.
  • If you can continuously outlearn your competition, you win.