How was Dell Computer able to charge out of nowhere and outmaneuver Compaq and other leaders of the personal computer industry? Why are Home Depot’s competitors losing market share to this fast-growing retailer of do-it-yourself supplies when they are all selling similar goods? How did Nike, a start-up company with no reputation behind it, manage to run past Adidas, a longtime solid performer in the sport-shoe market?

A version of this article appeared in the January–February 1993 issue of Harvard Business Review.