4 Reasons Why Becoming the First Mover Matters

4 Reasons Why Becoming the First Mover Matters

Are you a first mover? I know I wasn’t. I always wait and see. I was too afraid of taking the steps that many others don’t. Unfortunately, doing so impact my personal and business life in a bad way.

I lost many opportunities. I now live with my “I wish…”

  • I wish I started my online business earlier;
  • I wish I decided to invest on precious metal earlier;
  • I wish I traveled a lot more 10 years ago;
  • …and so on.

Not that I am full of regret and pessimism. On the contrary, my “I wish…” list has taught me one lesson – something that I want to talk about with you today: It’s on becoming the first mover.

Enjoying first mover advantages

Let’s start with my story

This is not a success story, but a good case study in showing the importance responding to the trends early.

When cloud computing was hot back in 2010, I started a niche blog on cloud computing. It was a great blog, but unfortunately, as cloud computing went mainstream, my cloud-computing-only blog slows down in growth.

It’s still viewed as one of the go-to places for cloud computing information (proofs: two major cloud events are requesting for promotional collaborations for their 2015 events – the deal has been finalized) but it has seen better days, and hopefully it will return to its glory soon!

About the decline, I have no regret: I am one of the first movers and enjoyed a great growth spurt for about two years until Google banished the site with their Penguin and Panda updates. I’ve gained considerable experience in identifying trends and riding the wave. I have yet to master this method, but I’m getting there.

First movers get all the perks

As the first mover in business, you can access many, many perks.

Here’s a good definition of “first mover advantage”:

A market participant has first-mover advantage if it is the first entrant and gains a competitive advantage through control of resources. With this advantage, first-movers can be rewarded with huge profit margins and a monopoly-like status (source.)

Please underline these words: “huge profit margins” and “a monopoly-like status.”

Let’s take stock trading as an example. I’m not a stock trader, but I know one thing: If you see the stock market is bullish, and you think about buying stocks right now, you are a few steps too late.

The same thing is true in everything else. If you see that it’s hot today to be a YouTube personality, you are a few steps too late. If you see that starting a blog today is cool, you are a few steps too late.

You see, you CAN still find your success doing the cool thing today, but you need 10 times the effort. Let me explain.

Once upon a time, there is a blog established in 2005…

Someone thought that it would be cool to start a tech blog in 2005. The blogger enjoyed mashing-up two websites. The concept was quite popular back then.  Nobody, or only a few, has started similar blogs, so he started it anyway.

As the tech blog was becoming more popular, it started to covers more interesting topics, such as social media, and it became bigger than ever. Naturally, the success of this blog caught people’s attention, and others started to find out that it’s possible to start a blog and make money out of it – then they started their blogs. Millions of them.

In 2015, the tech blog still maintained its status quo as one of the authorities in the tech and social media scene and gained a boatload of coverage, followings, and visits. How about the other millions? They are fighting over the tiny pies of the market, hoping that they will gain enough followers to support their operations.

That tech blog is Pete Cashmore’s Mashable. And the million other blogs are yours and mine.

Pete Cashmore of Mashable

So, why Mashable is winning? Sure, they have the talent and the execution. But the biggest perk Mashable enjoys that others don’t is this: They are the first mover.

What the first mover status has given Mashable? How about more than 12 million of monthly views and $15,000 of revenue everyday – making Mashable as one of the most profitable blogs in the world.  Wow.

Why becoming the first mover matters

You see, when you are the first mover, everyone after you will look up to you for inspiration. Everyone will try to reach you for an interview, and brands will see you as an asset to get the words out about them. Other websites will link out to you, and as they do so, your rank on search engines will go up, bringing in more visitors to your site.

Some haters may troll you, but that’s a good sign that you are doing the right thing. In fact, they help spreading the words about your brand.

Sure, quality matters. But quality only won’t get you far. I’ve read many other posts and articles that are better than Mashable’s, but those don’t get read as often as Mashable’s posts. I don’t know what about you, but I think this is the beautiful perk enjoyed by first movers.

As you can see, becoming the first mover is uber-important. If you think that I’m talking rubbish and need some assurance, let my man Gary Vaynerchuk explains it to you.

Be the first mover – like a boss!

Gary Vaynerchuk, the wine-guy-slash-entrepreneur-slash-investor-slash-author-slash-media-agency-CEO-slash-social-media-expert, is here today because he is a prolific figure when it comes to taking advantage of becoming the first mover.

On the first year of YouTube, he started out WineLibrary.tv and post daily videos on YouTube – the first of it kinds. Back in 2001 when email marketing was still considered as a fad, he has created a list to send subscribers regular updates via email, with a stunning 80 percent open rate. And those two was just a couple of examples of how he rolls.

Gary Vaynerchuk is the first mover in many things: Banner ads, Google AdWords, Facebook dark posts, Snapchat, Meerkat – the list can go on and on.

But why does he do that? Why becoming the first in everything matters to him? Let him explain things to you in this short video:

4 reasons for becoming the first mover

From the short but sweet video, I recap the following reasons why you should be the first mover:

1. You’ll become a pioneer – and all the perks that come with it

Remember the TechCrunch story I mentioned above? ‘Nuff said.

2. Marketers haven’t ruined your platform, yet – you’ll get bigger ROI value

Gary Vaynerchuk’s infamous quote, “Marketers ruin everything,” is true to the core. That’s why you need to be the first mover: Your platform hasn’t ruined yet, so you’ll get bigger ROI value.

Gary Vaynerchuk shares that his $1,000 investment for Facebook dark posts (Facebook unpublished posts) campaign yielded $40,000 in wine sales. That’s 4,000 percent ROI! Today, the dark post ads cost more and yield not so much. It hasn’t been ruined, but it will be in the near future.

3. It’s riskier NOT to be the first mover than sit and wait.

If you are afraid of losing money and time due to your investment in a new platform, you need to start thinking from the other angle: How much money and time would you lose by NOT becoming the first mover?

Gary Vaynerchuk rants once in a while about his biggest mistake in his career: Not investing soon enough on Uber. He’s an investor right now, with his tens of thousands of dollars investment now worths tens of millions of dollars. Yes, it’s riskier not to be the first mover.

4. If the new platform doesn’t work out, at least you’ll gain the lessons and experience

How to know whether a platform will be successful or not? Well, unfortunately, the answer to this question is: You won’t know. Gut feeling and experience can tell you, but in the end, you can’t be too sure about it.

Again, investing your time and/or money on a new platform is risky in a way. That’s why 90 percent of startup fails on the first year. Even if the founders are doing everything right, the change in the market can reverse the growth.

Becoming the first mover won’t guarantee you any success, but it can surely guarantee you one thing: Experience. You’ll hone your intuition, in such a way that you’ll make better assessment and decision for the new platforms and opportunities in the future.

Keep Calm and Be The First Mover


Becoming the first mover gives you more upsides than the downsides. Just like in any entrepreneurial endeavors, there is a window of opportunity opened for everybody to jump over. If you stuck in the waiting game, the window would close someday, and you are already deemed late.

What’s left then? Regret, and one more item to add in your “I wish…” list. Stop adding items on your list and start taking action, like, now?

Ivan Widjaya

Ivan Widjaya is the Owner/Editor of Noobpreneur.com, as well as several other blogs. He is a business blogger, web publisher and content marketer for SMEs.