12 November 2015
The Most Inspiring Stories Of Business Underdogs
Everybody loves an underdog story because we’re built to survive. We want purpose, and we need something to defeat or overcome to really be inspired and compelled.
You might feel small and disadvantaged, grinding away at what you do, trying to make it big. But the moment you do, not only will everything be worth it for one glorious moment, but you’ll also miss those times. Being the underdog is hard, but it’s meaningful. It’s also inspiring.
Let’s look at some of the most compelling underdog stories in business.
Biting of more than you can chew is only a problem if you don’t have the appetite.
Certainly the most famous underdog story is that of Steve Jobs and Apple. Whehn IBM was already revolutionizing the world with computer, Steve Jobs was in a garage with Steve Wozniak building computers by hand. Their first run of products where hand made and they had to convince store owners into stocking their strange machines. Now: 2014 saw 182 billion dollars is revenue for Apple.
People who went before you will have money and success as their badges. You will have your failures. Use that.
The now famous vacuum cleaners are a great example of market differentiation. But they spent a lot of time grinding away at the bottom before they could get that. The revolutionary bagless vacuum cleaner went through 5,127 prototypes before it toppled the existing marketplace.
The best way to win is as an underdog. Any other way and it’s not really a win.
It’s hard to believe that ten years ago Blockbuster were making 6 billion dollars a year. Now they seem to have two stores in that weird suburbs where people eat powdered milk dry.
In 2000, Netflix tried to sell itself to Blockbuster for $50 million and take on the blockbuster name. Blockbuster said no and Netflix is now making $19.7 billion a year.
Play like a champion. Train like an underdog.
The organisation responsible for the Firefox web browser one faced the Internet Explorer monster; IE had 95% market share. Mozilla had 12 employees. Microsoft had 60,000. More than that; Mozilla was dedicated to being completely independent and open source, letting anyone contribute to their products. They’re now worth $150 million.
Being called an underdog is not grounds for concern. It means they’re afraid of you.
Amazon is another business that started in a garage. There were essentially up against every bookstore ever and somehow managed to win. They were ruthless in their strategy to put growth and competitiveness before everything else; even profit. They are now the biggest online retailer. Not just the biggest retailer of books. Of everything.
The Amazon Jungle –
Amazon is a good case study because they’re an underdog that became the monster. It’s hard to want Amazon to succeed, yet we still feel like Apple is something of a revolutionary company. Why?
How To Be An Underdog Even After Success –
The film director James Cameron once said that your only competitors should be your past achievements. Real innovators aren’t just competing against other brands; they compete against everything that’s possible. They are the underdog because they throw themselves into the open-ended world of possibility. That means we can still root for them, even when they’ve taken over the world. Think of Google. One of the most powerful companies in existence and yet we still feel like they’re championing the human cause in some way. An underdog’s work is never done.