The Power of Being First

In: entrepreneur| ideas

26 Oct 2009

being_firstSometimes even going to lunch can teach you an important lesson.

“We’ll sit outside.”
This past Friday I had lunch with some friends to catch up and chat about business. We went to a restaurant in midtown Manhattan during peak lunch hours and, unsurprisingly, there was a long wait for a table inside. This particular restaurant has a large outdoor deck, but considering it was mid-October and there was a bit of a chill in the air, no one had opted to sit outside.

When the hostess told us about the wait, we asked if they could turn on the heat lamps on the deck, and if so, we would be happy to sit outside rather than wait. They agreed and as we sat down, we joked to the waitress that we would draw a crowd out on the deck.

Sure enough, by the time we were done with our meal, there were no less than 10 tables full of customers on the deck, comfortably enjoying an autumn day in New York under the heat lamps.

The Reason I’m Sharing This
What’s the point of this story? Though it’s a trivial experience, it illustrates a larger principle: there is a power in being the first to do something. Most people don’t even consider a particular path unless they know someone else chose to take it first.

As I speak with clients or aspiring entrepreneurs, it is disappointing how often I hear something to the effect of, “If this was a good idea, someone would be doing it already.” All the good ideas are definitely NOT taken. Some haven’t been thought of yet, but others have been thought of, only to languish and eventually die just because someone wasn’t willing to be first.

There are countless opportunities out there that exist simply because no one is willing to be first. If you have no problem blazing a new trail, then be the first to sit outside. You might just draw a crowd.

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October 26th, 2009 at 2:20 PM

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Mark Webster

About Mark Webster

One of the Co-Founders of SideTour, former TechStar (NYC Summer 2011), ex-NBA'er, and past TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon Winner.