Why the Best-Selling Products are Usually Runaway Successes

In a speech delivered to the annual Business of Software conference, Joel Spolsky discusses the differences between the best-selling products and their nearest competitors, focusing on the battle between the Apple iPod and Microsoft Zune. He asserts that there is nearly always a huge gap between the top product and the runner-up.

Why is there a gap?

That answer, Spolsky said, is hard to ascertain. In many ways, the Microsoft Zune was a superior product when compared to the iPod. Yet in terms of sales, the Zune is infinitely inferior.

In Hollywood, there is usually one super-couple. At the time of this video, that was Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Trying to deduce what makes them so special and superior is simply a fruitless endeavor. They just are.

Often times, the differences that make something the top product, versus the second-place product, are largely unknown. But for whatever reason, everybody recognizes one product to be better than the other.

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