In the book Good to Great, author Jim Collins provides a detailed analysis on what make a good company step up and become the best in their industry or field. In his book, Built to Last, he explains what companies need to do to stay there. Interestingly enough, his ideas are not his own, but based on extensive research and analysis. They not only showed extensive growth, but they changed the way commerce or processes happen.
For example, at one point the Ford Motor Company was the best in their industry, not just because of the product that they made, but it was how the product was made. Other car companies would assemble a car at a time and Henry Ford implemented the assembly line. He did not invent it, but he took two ideas and brought them together with inter-sectional innovation. This resulted in a good, dependable product at a low price. Steve Jobs did the same thing with I Tunes. He took the music industry and the computer industry and negocieated with record executives while the Napster hearings were going on. He explained that this is the way future music will be bought and sold, and they agreed. Once again, parts of two industries became one. But in both cases, they did not step outside of their specialized areas too much. There was a ton of projects that Steve Jobs scrapped when he went back to Apple in an effort to get back to basics.
But how do we determine what is the best company in a field or industry, and do we know how they got there? For example, what would you say is the top company in the Planning Industry. Do they do more than just write master plans and zoning ordinances? I know it is not my company since for right now, it is only me, but I also keep in mind, every company starts someplace. Additionally, I don't think the biggest or most profitable company is the best, although market share has quite a bit to do with it.
What about other industries? What do you think is the best computer company, the best book store, the best car company, the best restaurant chain, or the best retail company.