Fuel for Thought

Big Fish, Small Pond?

May 4, 2016

by Joe Thompson - Also by this author

Photo courtesy of ROUSH CleanTech.
Photo courtesy of ROUSH CleanTech.

Anyone who has ever played Monopoly knows that you won’t win by owning just a few property cards and no high-rent hotels. A board game is a very small pond, but to win, you have to be the largest fish in it.

Peter Thiel preaches this point in his book “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future.” In this series of posts based on the book, I’ve highlighted important questions raised by Thiel, including one he calls “The Monopoly Question.” To succeed, Thiel says, a company must have a big share of a small market.

The example Thiel gives of a company that learned this lesson the hard way is MiaSole, which manufactured thin-film solar cells. MiaSole failed, Thiel writes, because “thin film is just one of more than a dozen kinds of solar cells. Customers won’t care about any particular technology unless is solves a particular problem in a superior way.”

With other companies making thin-film cells, and still more manufacturers producing other types of solar cells, and even more companies addressing “green” energy production, MiaSole wasn’t solving “a particular problem in a superior way.” The company was a very small fish in the global clean energy market.

“If you can’t monopolize a unique solution for a small market, you’ll be stuck with vicious competition,” Thiel explains.

At ROUSH CleanTech, we believe that propane autogas is a unique solution—one that offers fleet owners a leg up on their competition by providing clean operation, lower costs and the dependability of a readily available, domestically produced fuel. But don’t take our word for it; ask one of the hundreds of fleet operators around the nation fueling with propane autogas about their cost and environmental savings.

So here’s your fuel for thought: Are you taking full advantage of your unique position in your marketplace?   

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Author Bio

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Joe Thompson

President, ROUSH CleanTech

Joe Thompson has served as president of ROUSH CleanTech since the company’s inception in 2010. Under Thompson’s leadership, the company has won numerous quality control and environmental awards.

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