The Olympics never held much interest for me…until this past weekend. I found myself watching men’s skeleton, admittedly a sport I had never heard of or seen before. If you’re unfamiliar, think face-first luge.
The sledders are all top of their game, and like luge and bobsled, have very narrow parameters within which they can differentiate themselves, outperform, and claim victory. One sledder from Great Britain caught my attention – Kristan Bromley. He is 41 years old, and began competing in 1996, now with many medals to his name. Nicknamed “Dr. Ice”, Bromley has a Ph.D. in materials science, which he directly applies to his sport in the construction of custom high-performance sleds.
Even though Bromley did not medal in this year’s winter games, I find him to be the most compelling competitor. His relative age aside, the engineering approach to his craft is unique.
The sport of skeleton, as in commoditized markets, has many competitors, all relatively undifferentiated. Unlike these markets, the competitors can not win on brand equity, superior customer service, or any other tangential factors. So, Bromley takes an unconventional approach to victory by using the game to his advantage – literally manufacturing a competitive advantage through technology.
What steps are you taking in your business to employ technology for competitive advantage?