This stood out in from today's quiz answers: the students need to appreciate that unfair advantage is about a collection of elements, not just an exciting product.
Yes, you will need a product or service that excites your ideal customer, one that is compelling to purchase and use. That is fundamental.
But you need a lot more to stay ahead of the competition that will try to copy you. Today's Wall Street Journal has a short note about how the Palm company could not retain its initial lead in the PDA market. That is an example of how an unfair advantage has to be "organic", that is, has to be able to advance over time as competitors try to copy your features and your services.
Think of it this way: Start with your idea and begin to add things to your company, such as people. Contiue the building of your structure, that thing that will become a powerful competitive advantage. Add intellectual property, such as a patent or two, plus a clever strategy for entering the market and out-maneuvering the existing competition, and work on a strategic partner plan so the other guys will have to settle with the second best partners.
And keep on adding element: investors, knowledge of the customers and their customers, board of directors with great networks and startup savvy, lawyers with VC and startup smarts, and so on.
The list can be amazingly long.
When you get it done you will be surprised at the number of elements that make up your unfair advantage.
BOTTOM LINE: Start adding elements to your recipe and aim to create Grandma's Secret Sauce. That is what will excite customers, employees, reporters and investors. It is a combination of special things. It is more than one item. When you understand that, you'll be on your way to using unfair advantage to convert your cool idea into a world-class enterprise. I wish you the best!