Drag racing has an important lesson for technologists about the importance of infrastructure.
I'm in Gainesville Florida working with a start up company.
On the way to work I noticed six massive big rigs, a full length bus style RV, and a travel trailer with a tow vehicle occupying a large portion of a local parking lot.
The trucks were painted with the drag racing team of John Force in bold strokes across the sides. Gainesville is the home of drag racing's Gator Nationals this weekend.
Force races funny cars.
I stopped to speak with one of the men maintaining the trucks. What does a drag racer need so much stuff for? It's only one car and one driver.
It's about infrastructure. Spares galore. The littlest "fix it" part. Tires. Of many kinds for different track conditions. A mobile garage to rebuild most things.
And then it hit me: leaders in any field are prepared for most every complication. John Force probably has enough parts to build several cars while on the road.
When you are designing a new product you need enough infrastructure in order to withstand the unexpected. If you're like John Force, you have the tools and parts at hand to deal with any eventuality. But if you're like most of us, you'll need to make do with what you have.
Leaders like John Force win in part because they have a complete infrastructure. For those who have a less than complete infrastructure, there's still the chance to win - it's just a lot harder.