One of the underlying beliefs in our economy is that competition is good, because it makes everyone work harder to offer better products and services at better prices, for the benefit of all. That’s the idea, right?
But is that really how it works?
Does Apple’s urge to create the iPhone or the iPad come from the desire to compete, to win in the marketplace?
Does the drive to make them continuously better come from the desire to win?
Clearly Apple are doing plenty things in order to gain an edge over the competition, such as locking up the component supplies. But does that help advance our society, does it increase the quality of the products and services available on the market? I don’t think so.
When Google tries to compete with Facebook by building Google+, does that help advance the state of the art?
Does Microsoft trying to copy the iPad help advance the state of the art?
I think there’s a fundamental flaw in that hypothesis. I think it’s a lot better to focus on creativity. On the urge to make something exist in the world that didn’t exist before. Forget about the competition. Focus on what you feel compelled to create. Focus on making it as great as you possibly can. Focus on your customers, on having a great relationship with them, and making them happy. That’s a much better approach for everyone involved.
Focusing on the competition will make you want to pull out the dirty tricks to try and beat them, like Microsoft trying to cut off Netscape’s air supply, and Google using their monopoly position to edge themselves into a market where nobody wants them.
Focusing on your own creative impulse makes for great products, advancement of society, and a sustainable long-term business.
What do you think?