Finding open space

In soccer there is a concept of finding open space. If you have the ball there is usually some way you could move from where you are into open space such that no one will challenge you head on[1]. You're much less likely to lose the ball if you are never challenged head on, which is of course why you pass or find open space in the first place.

This concept works well in startup strategy, especially when going up against big established market players. I remember watching a video of a Maradona goal when I was a kid that exemplifies the application to startups perfectly.

Messi had an eerily similar goal from decades later:


This concept as applied to startups also reminds me of Josh Kopelman's founders as heat seeking missles and this sage advice from Better off Dead:

There is probably open space around you. Find it and move into it. But don't think too hard about it because then you'll move too slow and the open space won't exist anymore. The trick is to go fast enough so you stay in open space but still have enough maneuverability to be able to avoid the big obstacles.

[1] There are many ways to find open space in soccer. A more common example is when everyone is crowded around one side of the field you can kick the ball to the other side and have more room to maneuver (and move forward).


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