Everyone enters the rat race hoping to get ahead. However, there are effective and ineffective ways to compete. One way to make your efforts count is to avoid the "scrum" — don't waste your effort on something everyone else is already working on.
Photo by royskeane
If fifteen people are all trying to solve a particular problem, you have to work harder to make your voice heard. As an example, there are so many streaming music services, it's hard for the smaller players to stand out. As Fred Seibert (of MTV, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network fame) explains, avoiding the scrum can push you to find solutions to problems no one is looking at yet:
The problems that haven't been solved are kind of risky but I approach them slowly. I say to my kids that I used to think I wasn't competitive and then I found out I'm really, really competitive, but what I don't do is compete in the scrum. Is everybody over here fighting it out? Then I'm over there finding my own way to wherever it is I gotta go. I really want to win. I really want to be the best at what it is that I'm doing, but if there is somebody else there, I don't wanna be there. It's not what I do.
Obviously the scrum exists for a reason and if you have the skill set to come out on top, then go for it. But if you're on the outside looking in and you're trying to get started with something new, it may be better to create your own thing, rather than forcing yourself into a crowded market. Let a new scrum form in your wake.