Good company vs great company

Many books have been written about building great companies. Authors try to list down some common characteristics that these great companies possess. Some say that in order to be great there are some quintessential qualities that are required. Now I wonder, if these authors know so much about building great companies, why don’t they start building them instead of writing books.. Of course, I agree that writing books is also one form of business.

There is another viewpoint by Nassem Taleb that these authors are being “fooled by randomness”. or perhaps they are not but they are trying to leverage the current ignorance of readers and making them more susceptible to “fooled by randomness”. After all they are doing some form of business, (may not be great business though as you may be sharing the success with publisher and prone to piracy)…

Whatever it may, everybody has something to suggest. But some people, i.e. authors, suggest without doing anything. They are actually like consultants, who in exchange for money, provide bull-shit to readers. So although Taleb may be right, but since he is also a writer, which makes him same type of consultant whom I hate.

Okay enough of diversion from the topic. There may not be a sure-shot way to build a great company. But for sure we can find out if a company is great at a particular time (it is almost imposible to say that a company will be great forever…isnt it?). Now you look at the company’s numbers like high ROIC and high profit margins and say “Oh this company is great”. But if this model is so good, others can easily imitate it. Thats where competitive advantage comes in. How can you stop somebody copying your idea…

There are couple of things which can work like technical edge, strong networking, brand etc. But these also may not last forever. So how do we make sure that this competitive advantage is retained.

But currently, i am stuck with even a bigger question: How to built such a competitive advantage when you are just starting off?