A secret lesson from BJJ for early-stage startups

How small guys can beat the big guys.

A secret lesson from BJJ for early-stage startups
Photo by Timothy Eberly / Unsplash

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a great martial art for many reasons.

One of those reasons is that it's one of the only fighting arts where a smaller guy can beat the bigger guy, just by employing one secret trick. This is not true with other sports.

You can't out-box or out-wrestle someone who's 25 kg heavier than you. Even if their technique is worse than yours, they still have a high chance of beating you.

It's not the same in BJJ. You can beat a heavier guy, even if he has the same level of skill as you. Intruiging?

Here's the secret

Given the rules and moves in BJJ, the heavier guy has his weight and strength as his advantage while the lighter guy has the magic of speed in his favor.

If you're fast enough, if you move quickly enough, you can choke the heavier guy out.

If you're lighter, your coach will tell you to move quickly. Even if the heavier guy is controlling you with weight and strength, you can escape with proper frame control and speed.

Two Jiu Jitsu competitors working out on a really hot day.
Photo by Timothy Eberly / Unsplash

What this means for new startups

Sometimes, as an early-stage founder, you may be intimidated by competitors.

They're heavily funded.

They've got the best employees.

They've received some great press.

They've got a more mature product.

... and so on.

There's one thing they haven't got though. And that is speed.

As an early-stage company, you've got literally ZERO bureaucracy. You can think of something today and make it real tomorrow. The bigger competitor can't before they go through approvals and put items on their backlog, prioritize between 100 other options, etc.

You've also got a faster feedback loop from your customers. You're closer to them, you address their needs asap and are able to help them quickly. You understand new market need better than incumbent competitors, which is the only thing you need to succeed.

The ones that crumble under competition either don't have enough speed or aren't close to their customers.

So there's your lesson from BJJ. You need to be able to move quickly to beat behemoths. If you do that, you will win 🚀

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