Goku first-mover advantage

As the world rejoiced in Goku’s victory over Freiza, and seemingly the first successful heave of the spirit bomb, a slight figure emerged from the rogue waves on planet Namek. It was Frieza! The tyrant had withstood Goku’s destructive attack made up of the world’s energy. With an urge to exact revenge, Freiza fired a Death Beam through Piccolo and a Death Psycho Bomb at Krillin.

These senseless attacks would not go unanswered, though. In a fit of rage, and lots of grunting, Goku channeled a new level of power that so far had only existed in stories.

“You did it, you actually did it! You’re a Super Saiyan, I can see it,” Vegeta laughs before teleporting back to Earth, where he began obsessively training to match Goku. Almost 35 episodes later, and in a third of the time it took Goku, Vegeta showed off that he too had transformed into a Super Saiyan.

When questioned how he could equal Goku despite their clear differences, Vegeta retorted, “There’s more than one way to reach the goal.” It had clearly irked Vegeta that Kakarot surpassed him, the Prince of all Saiyans. But with the knowledge that Goku peaked in the hyperbolic time chamber, Vegeta was able to reach the finish line much quicker.

We this same dynamic unfold in Corporate America; one company pioneers a new product or innovation, only for a new entrant to develop a copycat version soon after. In some cases, the lead company will assume the first-mover advantage, and in others, the late entrant defeats the incumbent.

Below are a few of those examples from the real world and Ginger Town

What is a First Mover Advantage?

Being first to market carries a certain amount of cachet. For one thing, the entrepreneur behind the invention is often memorialized in the Silicon Valley Hall of Fame, but not only that, many of the products often capture a first-mover advantage. Take Uber, for example. The ride-sharing company developed the first mainstream app that digitally matched drivers and vehicles in the way cabs have been hailed for decades. In doing so, it established brand loyalty among first-time drivers and riders before Lyft and other competitors entered the market.

Now when riders visit a new city or even visit the grocery store, their first preference is to call an Uber. They don’t compare prices or look at driver ratings; most will default to the dominant service. This deep loyalty exists at multiple levels too. Uber has created a network effect between drivers and riders, where users trust that the service is just as reliable in New York as in parts of Europe. Starting from the pole position carried an economic advantage.

Goku, of course, is not an on-demand service. The folks in Center City don’t have an app or secret bat signal to request his services. And yet, he has still managed to seize the first-mover advantage, not unlike Uber. Through hard work and a burning desire for power, the former low-level soldier, as Vegeta once noted, surpassed every significant milestone first (save for Gohan against Cell). He was the first Super Saiyan, first Super Saiyan 3, first Super Saiyan God, and first to unlock Autonomous Ultra Instinct. With that power came an opportunity—the opportunity to save the planet from the Universes’ strongest enemies. It’s almost as if Goku has a dominant market share on superhero duties.

What is a Second Mover Advantage?

The first-mover spends time and money to not only develop a new market but also educate customers about the benefits of their products. Uber, for instance, shelled out billions in sales and marketing to raise awareness and attract customers. Riders received non-stop discounts, highly targeted ads, and no-questions-asked refunds, while potential drivers were hypnotized into working for Uber.

For well-established companies, who often cater to shareholder’s interests, there is no benefit to pouring these resources into a project that could very well fail. Just look at Apple. The iPhone maker launched its flagship product nearly 9 years after Blackberry sold the first modern smartphone. It’s not because there wasn’t a market for smartphones. But Apple saw that people wanted more than what Blackberry offered; email and basic internet access. By going in as a second-mover, the iPhone maker used these learnings to develop what would become the most popular consumer product ever.

Apple is notorious for being “behind”. The iPod was also a product of learning and copying other companies’ experiments with MP3 players.

Another well-known example of a second-mover is Instagram stories. Four years ago, the Facebook-owned image-sharing company released a new story feature that nearly mirrored Snap’s core product. What seemed like a disingenuous move only enabled more users to switch services.

Does this sound like Vegeta? Perhaps. The Prince of all Saiyans has always matched Goku’s transformations, and in a much shorter timeframe, but he’s never fully captured a second-mover advantage like Apple’s iPhone or Instagram’s Stories. To do that, Vegeta would need to surpass Autonomous Ultra Instinct before Goku reaches a new power level.

So until then, Goku will enjoy a first-mover advantage.

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