Time To Market

TimeToMarket is the time from when you start working on a product (or have a product idea) to when it's available. It's often argued that this is increasingly important in today's economy.

AlanCooper argues that the products that are first to market often end up being flops; it's the later players that succeed.

It depends. Sometimes the first mover succeeds (because they establish a market presence or economies of scale that are difficult to compete against - Pokemon cards, for example, or Tamigotchis, where the value of having the correct brand meant competitors had a hard time), sometimes a follower (often a FastFollower?) succeeds because they can learn from the mistakes of the first mover, or take advantage of technological changes since the first mover did their stuff. Microsoft's strategy has often been FastFollower?.

Being the first to market in a given niche gives a greater sense of brand awareness. In an ideal world, this would not give an overwhelming advantage to a technically inferior product. In this world, it's certainly a strong factor.

The very fact that technically inferior products _do_ beat out technically better solutions, thanks to marketting spins, gives weight to the 'first to market' product.

In addition, the "window of opportunity" (to use another marketting phrase) doesn't always exist very long. For a tight window, there may not be time for a technically better product to dislodge the first comer.

Mind you, given the cluelessness of the general public, "first to market" is possible to rig. For example, witness Netscape's decision to badge their next version as Version 6; the higher version number will make a lot of people think it is better (especially following the BrowserWars referring to the version number as the generation a lot).
Refer to the InnovatorsDilemma in which it is proposed that TimeToMarket is mostly significant for disruptive technologies and not so much for sustaining technologies.

View edit of March 8, 2002 or FindPage with title or text search