Do market leaders set the rules for their market or merely establish accepted norms — until something better comes along and new norms are accepted? Blockbuster and NetFlix come to mind. It´s now hard to imagine a competitive No Late Fees offer from a video chain. NetFlix established a newly accepted norm of movie rentals.
I don´t think of market leaders as rule setters. I don´t believe there are rules to markets, there´s just a lot of "that´s the way we´ve always done it"?? attitude in business. Too much. That attitude creates opportunity to serve customers in differing ways.
Every market leader sets their own trap for niche markets to emerge and be served. Every market leader is vulnerable to their own dominance.
It´s something to think about. Act.
Set Godin has an excellent post on the risks of following the market leader. While I have a pet peeve on using the word rule when speaking about business, there is no way in the world I could disagree with the wonderful point Seth makes — dramatically changing the game is the safest thing you can do (if you want to grow). Seth makes you think.
Getting over my aversion to the word rule, there´s one thing I"d change in his post: changing the accepted norms is not scary, it´s opportunity. It´s the excitement of business and nothing to be afraid of in the least. Embrace change. Grow.