Sometime (actually in most times), whom you compete with defines you.
Amazon could have just spent all of its life competing with Walmart. But then, they are now competing with everybody.
An important lesson from my startup journey.
Choose your competition wisely – you will be spending a lot of time in the same market, pitching to same (similar) customers. And you gotta be proud of whom you are competing with – they should drive you to think different and bigger.
In fact, this is one of my biggest learning – and precisely why we moved away from media space*.
As a startup, you have to continuously keep revisiting your market and not focus a lot on what competition is doing – but do focus on whom you are competing with. That’ll also define your class (and eventually the pie).
*We are now doing a lot more online courses (like the product management course) and announcing new initiatives (which are boring yet meaningful).
“I think the problem with competition as the be-all, end-all is that you outsource your sense of satisfaction to your competitors. If they’re doing something different than you and they end up having better traction, does that mean that what you’ve done is bad or terrible? No, of course not.
Competition and the marketplace is not a fixed pie. We can simultaneously grow it in all sorts of different directions. For Basecamp to do well, I don’t need someone else to do poorly, and if someone else is doing well that doesn’t mean that Basecamp is doing poorly.” [DHH, Basecamp and RoR founder / link]