Business StrategyCompetitionEntrepreneurshipGolden TriadInnovationNext Generation BusinessStartups

3 Keys to Google and Amazon’s Success more Important than “Innovation”


Every company executive, from a garage bound startup to Fortune 500 is focused on creating the “next big thing”. However, for the almost $300B spent on R&D and thousands of brilliant engineers working, it seems to rarely succeed. For every iPhone there are numerous failures like the Segway or Google Glasses which were innovative enough to succeed. But maybe that’s their problem with the creators too focused on innovation and not enough on beating their competition with the Golden Triad.

Whats the Golden Triad? 

innovation curveThe Triad is important because less then 3% of customers (“innovators”) deeply care about innovation while the other 97% just want technology that is better than current offerings. And the easiest way to replace your competition for the 97% is achieving the Golden Triad by being cheaper, better, and faster then your competition.

Who’s achieved this?

While your favorite diner thinks you can only have two of these three,  truly successful technologies have always achieved all three. From hardware (personal automobiles) to software (Amazon), these technologies only achieved mass market penetration by being cheaper, better, and faster than their competition. To dive deeper, I’ve broken down mass market technologies that achieved the Triad versus their competition.

Classic Car

Automobiles vs Public Transit
  • CheaperCheaper for consumers counting daily cost or opportunity costs.
  • Better – Freedom to choose travel times and travel privately. 
  • Faster – Up to twice as fast– even in cities with good transit options.
  • Innovation that lost? – Helicopters. They are faster and “better” than public transit, but are too expensive to compete.
iPhone X
SmartPhones vs Flip Phones
  • Cheaper$200 out of pocket vs $400-$1000 out of pocket in the 90s.
  • Better – They have internet access and limitless capabilities with apps.
  • Faster – These devices are significant quicker with better connections.
  • Innovation that lost? – Walkie Talkie phones. They are “better” then flip phones, but weren’t cheap or fast enough to win.
Amazon vs Retail
  • Cheaper – Amazon has cheaper prices then retailers and also offers more discounts and free shipping.
  • Better – Customers can shop from their phone at any time through an almost unlimited inventory.
  • Faster – In minutes customers can quickly find and buy any product and have it delivered within two days.
  • Innovation that lost? – eBay. They were cheaper and faster than retail, but had less inventory and availability than retail stores. 
Google vs Literature
  • Cheaper – Google has no cost to find information versus buying books or papers.
  • Better -Users can find related information automatically if you’re search fails.
  • Faster – You can find multiple sources in minutes versus hours to find the correct literature and passage.
  • Innovation that lost?  – AskJeeves or Yahoo. They lost because they’re results weren’t significantly better than using books.
How can I achieve this?

These competitive advantages were enabled by their technologies unique properties, but many existing or new technologies can be built to achieve the Golden Triad versus their competition if considered from Day 1.  In the coming weeks I’ll give practical advice for companies to achieve this and how they can build the next iPod and not the Zune with ways to be.

Part 1 – How to be cheaper but better than your competition 

Part 2 – How to create better experiences without breaking the bank

Like this post and want more? Sign up for your Peek into the Garage!

* indicates required