Competition is for losers

Peter Thiel is not a man to mince words.

The author of “Zero to One: Notes on Startups” (and the first outside investor in Facebook who picked up a 10.2 percent stake in 2004 for $500,000) is fond of building monopolies that create and capture lasting value.

Why compete for limited resources and battle for market share when we can write the rules to create a new market only we can access. There is no better way to guarantee sales and revenue. If we’re smart, we can even do it without government mandated policy and regulation. We can make it self-sustaining and self-strengthening. The more it grows, the more it repels new entrants and competition.

Economically it makes a great deal of sense. Operationally even more so.

When we focus on competitors, we’re playing by someone else rules. We wait until a competitor does something, and then we react. Usually at a tactical level by trying to match their technology, their offer, their advertising, their marketing, their discounts. It’s kind of sad.

Playing someone else’s game means we’re living someone else’s story. It puts us at an immediate disadvantage. It’s a great way to lose time, money, resources and focus. Losing focus is the killer.

Most firms spend around a third if their time focused on their competition. A third of their focus means a third of their time, money and resources.

Why not spend that time, money and resources on customers? Why not focus that attention on pioneering ways to engage with customers? Why not become customer-focused instead of competitor-focused?

Imagine how amazing we could be if we allocated a third of our time, money and resources to enriching our customers’ lives?

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