The basic rules of success are eternal:

serve customers obsessively, escalate quality, outdo your competitors, have fun. The nature of the new economy changes none of those rules. But the success they help one attain is not what it used to be. However you want to measure it, success is a type of inertia. The law of increasing returns can compound it but success still follows its momentum to the top–but the top is highly unstable now. Being at the top when the sands shift is a liability. For anyone sane, success should breed paranoia.

In the highly turbulent, quickly reforming environment of the new economy, the competitive advantage goes to the nimble and malleable, the flexible and quick. Speed and agility trump size and experience. Fast to find the new is only one half the equation; fast to let go is the other important half.

Of all the lessons that biology has to offer us as we begin to assemble a network economy, the necessity of abandoning our successes will be the hardest to practice.



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