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If a man can . . . make a better mousetrap
than his neighbour, the world will make a
beaten path to his door.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Once, this statement of Emerson's may have been true. In fact, millions
of us were raised on the "theory of the better mousetrap." Entrepreneurs
believe that if they create a great new product or service, someone will
invest. Ph.D.s believe that if they get the best education, they'll get the
best jobs. Investors believe that if they find the right company with the
best management or product line, they will make a fortune.
In Emerson's time, that may have worked. Today, experience shows
that the world will no longer beat a path to your door just because you are
talented. You may be the most highly educated person. The best inven-
tor. The most intelligent thinker. The most artistic painter. But the
results speak for themselves. Many people with truly excellent skills are
either hurting for business -- or driving cabs.
The one common denominator we have found among high achievers
in many fields -- and we've studied and talked to a great number of
them -- was not that they were the best as what they do. The key to their
success was their ability to market -- or be marketed.
"Preposterous," you may say. "Excellence always wins out." But think
about it for a few moments.
Is the best wine the one that sells the most? Do consumers buy the best