Best to market trumps first to market.
The industrial world lowered production costs to make money. The post-industrial world raises quality to make money.
As programmers, it’s your job to create successful products, not necessarily to innovate. This is because innovation comes naturally to the field. It’s the byproduct, not the goal.
It’s a classic programming conceit to "plan to throw one away." Keep in mind that business types have changed this to mean "the first, crappy 1.0 version is the one we’ll throw away."
"Companies can be achieving stellar results in efficiency while otherwise failing completely."
This is an interesting set of ideas. If you grant him the first two premises above, I agree that the rest follows.
However, I'm far from sure that we're in a world where best in market triumphs. (At least not for most technically savvy people's definition of "best".) Perhaps it could be argued that "best" generally means "most convenient," where convenience is further sub-defined to include both ease of use as well as amout of utility gained. This would square nicely with the advocacy for having a UI designer on every project.
Still, it sounds a lot like this is being put foward as some kind of silver bullet...