A Bloomberg analysis found that of the 100 richest people in the world, eight had no college education or inherited family wealth – no obvious Cumulative Advantage. There was one common source of their unexpected success. Every one of them recognized an early trend and capitalized on the undefended opportunity by bursting through the seam.
Ok. I know you’re dying to know who those eight billionaires are: Larry Ellison, Li Ka-shing, Leonardo Del Vecchio, John Fredericksen, Sheldon Adelson, Ingvar Kanprad, and Francois Pinault. No need to thank me.
New seams are opening always and endlessly. An undefended opportunity can come from changing customer needs, exploiting competitor laziness, specialized data analysis, or the application of a new technology. Seams emerge because of changes in buyer power, supplier power, availability of substitutes, or new rivalries. Seams open because of fluctuations in consumer tastes, culture, politics, fashion, and demographic trends.
From “Cumulative Advantage: How to Build Momentum for Your Ideas, Business, and Life Against All Odds” by Mark Schaefer