Taking on the 800 Pound Gorilla

Taking on the 800 Pound Gorilla

The challenge faced by many start-ups (and sometimes the far more developed companies) is how to successfully compete with and beat a much larger competitor. It is a strategic challenge that many companies have to face. Many are simply overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task and struggle to make a timely decision. Others feel intimidated and shy away completely, while others believe that all they need to do is copy their big competitor but on a much smaller scale.

However, a strategy well worth considering is derived from the Biblical story of David and Goliath. Goliath was reported to be a giant of a man: a skilled warrior with access to all of the weapons he needed and proven skills at using those weapons to defeat his enemies.

David, however, was a comparative youngster, with neither skills nor experience in the art of war and conquering your enemy. What chance did he have in taking on the big guy? What chance did he have of successfully competing against Goliath?

Most people would have been thoroughly intimidated by the thought of taking on the giant, Goliath. But not David. He set-about doing things differently. David had a particular skill-set: an expertise that he had honed from his earliest days. He was the best that he could be at it. It was a strength that he had continually strengthened. His skill was not in the use of swords and spears. His skill was in the use of a simple Shepherd’s Sling: a pouch attached to two pieces of string. David would have placed a stone in the pouch, swung the string in an arc causing the stone to be released at speed and directed at the forehead of Goliath who was taken totally by surprise. The stone struck Goliath on the temple and he died immediately.


Who would have expected a tiny competitor such as David, an upstart with an unsophisticated weapon, to have had such an effective and devastating skill?

So the “David Strategy” was about being the absolute best that he could be in a skill-set that was different to that of Goliath. David honed his skill, exercised it meticulously and, with an element of surprise, defeated his enemy.