If you’re ahead of others, you become people’s go to person. It means more involvement. More challenge and opportunities to grow and network.

Being first means you can pave the way for others and be helpful. It’s one of the key traits of a lead.

Main Advantages of being first

You can set the tone, guidelines that you want others to follow. And not you following others. Often you’re late into some bad architecture. Folks have already made their decision on the bad architecture. Things are already in motion. Product has already signed off to the design and it’s now a quarterly goal. The cost of correcting the mistake is too high. It’s difficult to get people buy into your plan.

Being first means you’re informed ahead of others, have more time to react to feedback and come up with plans. You’re also the first contact point and often that means you’re the contact point with another team which helps build relationships.

Being early and well-prepared for meetings demonstrates your attentiveness and respect for others' time. Consider the person who arrives ahead of schedule, ensuring that all technical aspects, like screen sharing and microphone functionality, are in perfect order. This individual not only presents themselves more favorably but also enhances the meeting experience for everyone involved. Contrast this with someone who is habitually late, struggles with basic presentation tools, or overlooks essential permissions for content sharing. A rehearsal once revealed that the audience couldn’t hear the introductory music due to the noise suppression feature in Teams…

How to be first

Demonstrating care and staying informed requires a blend of knowledge, attentiveness, and the flexibility to manage your schedule effectively. Implementing automation, setting up metrics in advance or just being the go-to person can significantly expedite your ability to be responsive and authoritative, positioning you as the lead. Yet, it’s not just about showing concern or being proactive; it’s about leading with action, delivering results swiftly, and being at the forefront of addressing challenges or incidents. Equally important is the willingness to share insights and discoveries, even when they may not lead to immediate, tangible outcomes. Investing time to understand and interpret your metrics is invaluable, as it not only enhances your expertise but also cements your status as a trailblazer and leader in your field.

I was once added into a Slack channel only because I connected with a different team. They owned an upstream service. Later there was an issue to triage for ourselves; Unlike everyone else, spending time to figure out what’s wrong with our code, I was able to easily point out an outage in the upstream service affecting our feature.

Being first for non-deliverables

Being first doesn’t need to be about deliverables. It can also be about good culture. Like you can also be first to:

  • Give weekly shout outs to team members.
  • Setup a monthly lunch gathering.
  • Greet birthdays of team members or give a hug to a colleague whose recently loss someone.
  • Share what you learned today with others.
  • Talk about great weather. How well a meeting went.
  • Being first at the office, train station or even waking up early allows you to think with zen.

Slowly others will follow the new cultural norms you set. You’d see people giving each other shout outs. Other teams trying to mimic your team’s togetherness.

Company success with being first

Here are some reasons based on research and examples:

  • Being first typically enables a company to establish strong brand recognition and customer loyalty before competitors enter the arena. For example, Netflix was the first company to offer online movie rental service, which gave it a huge advantage over traditional video stores like Blockbuster.
  • Being first also gives you additional time to perfect your product or service and set the market price for the new item. For example, Apple was the first company to introduce a personal computer with a graphical user interface, which allowed it to dominate the market for years.
  • Being first can also influence how people make choices, as they tend to prefer the options that come first: first in line, first college to offer acceptance, first salad on the menu – first is considered best. This is because people have a cognitive bias called the primacy effect, which means they remember and value the first information they encounter more than the later ones.
  • Being first can also boost your leadership skills and personality traits, especially if you are a first-born child. Researchers from Duetsche Post Foundation found that firstborns have an advantage when it comes to emotional stability, persistence, being outgoing and social, an ability to take initiative and a willingness to take on responsibility, leading them towards top managerial positions.

As you can see, being first has many benefits that can help you succeed in your personal and professional life. So don’t be afraid to take risks, innovate, and lead by example. You never know what opportunities might open up for you if you are the first one to do something.


  • If you’re a team lead or manager then being always first isn’t going to help your team members grow. I recall having a tech lead, he was first to reply to every slack message in a suport channel. For things I had to spend 10-60 minutes to figure out, he already had the answer in 2 minutes. It frustrated me very much. He cooled down after I let him know about it. We agreed that I should instead leave a “on-it” emoji, so others know I’m looking into it, and then I would reach out to him if needed.
  • Being too quick to correct the mistakes of others. Often people realize their mistakes without neeing to be told about it.
  • Attempting to go first while going completing solo. Get a few people to buy into your initiative. Get feedback. Make your group/team/company first — even if it doesn’t mean leading or creating the team. As long as your part of the pack then that’s still a major win. Often just being part of a high-impacting team is the only extra nudge you need to stand out and get the promotion!
  • Try to be first in a few things. Like don’t try to be first to learn about what’s new in WWDC, what’s new in fastlane, what’s new in your upcoming features, etc. Focus on one or two aspects and just build around it.
  • Don’t overload yourself. Otherwise you can’t take on tasks — especially as the first person.

Other Tips

  • Gamify it. Make it fun. Do it with a group. Give praises and get priases for people who are first. Have a leaderboard. Often even leaving cool emojis for others will kick off a joyful culture that will get back to yourself.
  • Being first requires stamina more than it requires intensity. Usually more tenured/experienced people are first. This means you will fail a lot early on.
  • Embrace failure. By being first you’re more exposed to corrections.
  • Focus on strengths, but also have plans to improve your weaknesses.

Hopefully by the end, the result would be you getting “First to the egg” 🥚🚀🏆!