Malcolm Gladwell, of Tipping Point and Blink fame (and, most recently, Outliers), wrote a piece recently for the New Yorker last week about how the little guy can beat out the monolithic big competitor. Put simply, “effort can trump ability” — not every time, but realiably:
David’s victory over Goliath, in the Biblical account, is held to be an anomaly. It was not. Davids win all the time. The political scientist Ivan Arreguín-Toft recently looked at every war fought in the past two hundred years between strong and weak combatants. The Goliaths, he found, won in 71.5 per cent of the cases. That is a remarkable fact. Arreguín-Toft was analyzing conflicts in which one side was at least ten times as powerful—in terms of armed might and population—as its opponent, and even in those lopsided contests the underdog won almost a third of the time.
What does this have to do with Hearken Creative? Well, I’m at least 1/10 the size of many of my competitors. So the things that I take away from it are
- Choose an unconventional strategy,
- Work harder than anyone else, and
- Surprise with thinking outside of the box. Gladwell says, ”insurgents work harder than Goliath. But their other advantage is that they will do what is ‘socially horrifying’—they will challenge the conventions about how battles are supposed to be fought.”
Good advice. Now I’m going to back to working harder than anyone else…