Start Up Blog

2 horse race

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on May 10, 2011

If you haven’t already read the 22 Laws of marketing – then you should. It’s a short book which really should be called the 22 laws on entrepreneurship. It seems that most of the laws are true on a category scale – the type of scale that startups with big dreams should pay attention two. recently I’ve been reminded of the law 8: The law of duality.

The Law of Duality says that “in the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race.”

The most recent example of this is Twitter and Facebook. it seems as though they’ve won the social web race. Every brand or advertisement is now tagged with ‘find us on Twitter & Facebook’. We have to look pretty hard to find any of the other 400+ social networking sites. It seems the Law of duality is still true almost 2 years after it was written. It seems that certain power laws of dominance still exist, even though we all like to believe the market has fragmented and opened up for everyone….

The truth is there is only so much space in the mind. We can’t carry the baggage of too many ideas with us. So we simplify by limiting what we participate in. There’s lots new world industry examples of the law of duality.

Social: Facebook  & Twitter

Search: Google & Bing

Mobile: iPhone & Android

Computers: PC & Mac

The question for internet entrepreneurs, is which new categories are still to get their number 2 player. That is where the opportunity lies.

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7 Responses

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  1. Andre Sammartino said, on May 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    That’s faulty logic Steve. It’s good advice once a market/industry has matured, but until then it’s anyone’s game. And even in mature markets there are often more than 2 big players (for a variety of reasons including differentiation, minumum efficient scale and the like).

    Tell me which of these firms should give up (as they aren’t in the Top 2):
    – Google Chrome and Apple Safari (trailing Microsoft and Mozilla in the browser market)?
    – Channel Ten in Australia?
    – Apple (through much of the 80s and 90s in the personal computer market)?
    – Any car manufacturer other than Toyota and Volkswagen
    – Most banks (typically there are 4 or more with relatively comparable market share in any domestic market)?
    – All but two cafes??

    Oh, Yahoo! and Bing are currently neck and neck for that #2 search engine according to Hitwise (http://www.hitwise.com/us/datacenter/main/dashboard-10133.html). Should one of them pull out of the race?

    Google wasn’t in the first two search engines, so should Brin & Page have been scared off.

    Oh, and is Grey in the top 2 advertising firms in Australia? Or globally?

  2. Andre Sammartino said, on May 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    As a follow up, a nice chronicle on how long it took the press to even notice Google’s rise:

    http://technologizer.com/2009/05/22/how-long-did-it-take-for-the-world-to-identify-google-as-an-altavista-killer/

  3. Tim said, on May 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I’m going to bite on this one and agree with Andre – faulty logic.

    I agree there is only so much space in the mind, the question is how are you going to get there?

    In all those categories, the top two was different five years ago and there’s no guarantee they will remain in five years time.

    Don’t agree with the idea of “don’t even show up to compete” which is what you seem to be suggesting here?

    That said, it’s won’t be easy to knock Google off their perch, but I’m certain that someone will do it (within 10 years and probably within 5) and they won’t get there by not even starting.

    Tim

    • Steve Sammartino said, on May 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm

      Not saying don’t even start ‘I’m saying more often than not the power law of two prevails… in the long run.

      SS

  4. Peggye said, on May 11, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Interesting thoughts. History does show that dualities do exist and play each other out. In regards to Twitter and Facebook, how long will they remain the two prominent social platforms? They can’t reign supreme forever.

  5. Donothan Gamble said, on May 24, 2011 at 6:14 am

    This article is very opinionated. I do have to agree that even though a company or product may start off single they always find someone ride beside them before it is all said and done.


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