Differentiation exists as long as you can run faster, further.

You're probably familiar with Vibram 5 Finger Shoes that have become somewhat popular. They became popular in part because they were so different, unique and noticeable. When someone wears a pair - you visually take note.... and if you've not seen them before, you ask what they are. And now they are quite recognizable and popular.

Flipping through a magazine, I came across the below ad for Adidas' new, equivalent shoe. It's a great reminder that:

- differentiation doesn't last forever... particularly when you succeed.

- big brands with big budgets exist... and they take notice.

- consequently, differentiation exists as long as you can run faster, further.

- think forward and about your brand more than about protection & competition

- ... and when a start-up, make sure you've thought enough about whether you have a sustained chance to take a large enough lead (time, product, brand) before others arrive.