Counterpoints: The wisdom of crowds versus the blindness of herds, by Mark Chussil

Much of what we read and hear in the media is about averages, trends, and “the market.” When we see such information, it’s natural to worry that they know something I don’t. It’s natural to fear being left behind, being left high and dry. Welcome to the great (as in large) masses. Here’s your uniform. Don’t worry, one size fits all.

There may be wisdom in crowds and safety in numbers, but there’s not much inspiration in a herd or thought in groupthink.

The innovator, the leader, and the winner don’t yell “Quick, do what everyone else is doing!” They do something different.

To be fair, doing something different isn’t a sufficient condition for success. If it were, my idea for an espresso tap, alongside the hot and cold water, would have made me a rich man. Do something different that’s good.

And so let us here congratulate the companies that are doing something different and good. The companies that defy the averages, buck the trends, make their markets. The companies that make their success even in tough conditions. Apple is a perennial favorite, with designs and foresight that behemoths never seem to beat. Singapore Airlines, priced high and making money with a superior service when most airlines think of nothing but cost. Method, revolutionizing home-cleaning products. And which company do you admire more, General Motors  ($181 billion in revenue) or Porsche ($7 billion in revenue)?

It’s your turn. Which companies would you nominate as counterpoints, mavericks, and exemplars of good-different? Let us know your favorite(s) and why they make your list.

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