“Your sustainable advantage will come from your ability to out-learn your current (and future) competition.”
– Ash Maurya, Running Lean
This is the best quote I’ve heard about how to create a successful company. You must out-learn your competition.
I’ve heard many CEO’s talk about why their company will be successful in the future.
They claim their company only hires the smartest people. They boast that their employees are the most passionate or the hardest workers. They say their company has a superior product and the best strategy for the future.
While all of these are certainly important in creating a successful company, keep in mind:
- It’s unlikely that many of these claims are true
- The less you’re learning, the worse your product and strategy will be
Many companies have smart and driven people. Many companies also have what they think are good products and good strategies for the future. So how can you can separate your company from the rest?
You must out-learn your competition.
Markets change. Customer problems change. Possible solutions change.
If your company is not constantly getting feedback from customers and learning from them, they are falling behind. Even worse, if your company assumes it know what its customers want without talking to them, you are almost certainly headed in the wrong direction.
The only way to stay on top of constant change is to ensure your company is constantly learning. And the only way to stay on top of your competition is to be learning faster than they are.
So what are you waiting for? Get to school.
As an aside, the book this quote is from, Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works by Ash Maurya, is one of the best guides to entrepreneurship and building a successful product from scratch. Highly recommended.