There’s an old saying that goes “The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” Anyone who has ever suggested a revolutionary new idea knows just how hard those get slapped down, but then six months later someone else suggests basically the same concept and it is then met with overwhelming adoption. (Phooey!)
Sometimes it’s better to take the second bite (and sometimes third or fourth bite) of the apple.
The was quite literally the case with the computer mouse and the company Apple. Although track-balls date back to the World War II era, the early bird/first mouse of the personal computer world was Xerox and PARC. Even Microsoft Windows got a bite at the apple before Apple itself popularized the mouse with the release of its Macintosh computer.
Apple is frequently the second mouse (or second apple-biter) as they’ve always had the unique talent for reinventing and repacking things like MP3 players and computer tablets to greater success than early innovators.
How do you know when you’re the second mouse?
A great way to identify a “second mouse” opportunity is whenever one of your ideas is met with the following response:
We tried that before and it didn’t work.
You now know that YOU are the second mouse, and the easiest way to find out how the first mouse bit the dust is to simply ask some of the following questions:
- What went wrong?
- Why don’t you think it worked the first time you tried this approach?
- What has changed since the last time you tried to put this idea into action?
Any answers to these questions will help you avoid the traps of the first mouse, and make it a little more easy-peasy-macaroni-and-cheesy for you to be the winner as the second mouse.