Crushing Your Competitors — And Staying Ethically Pure

My friend and awesome blogger Brad Feld has a hilarious video up on "Munching on Your Competitors’ Bones". A great, quick dramatic clip.

Competition is a big contributor to the "ups and downs" characteristic of entrepreneurship. Losing a deal to a competitor is a terrible feeling, especially if it comes after several pitches and follow-up.

I’ve had my share of wins, losses, and more interestingly, self-directed "competitive reconnaissance" missions. At one point in time, I assumed an entire shadow identity and even had my "wife" (a real person) write a check to obtain some information on my behalf. All of it was entirely legal although probably pushed the ethical envelope. But at the time, the only thing on my mind was the ruthlessness required to munch on our competitors’ bones.

Fast forward to the present and at Comcate we balance genuine respect for our competitors’ contributions to the market with the killer instinct to annihilate them.  We hold high ethical standards in how we engage our competition — despite the killer instinct. Unfortunately, not everyone in our market plays by these rules. Not everyone believes as Comcate does, that it’s more profitable to be ethical.

So, while most entrepreneurs know they need to crush their competitors, doing so while maintaining a clean ethical balance sheet can prove tricky.

2 Responses to Crushing Your Competitors — And Staying Ethically Pure

  1. Alexander Peschkoff says:

    Although I do admire Brad (and his presentation style) a lot, I think there could be another approach, as far as competition is concerned. Some people (companies) focus so much on beating/crushing their competition, that they forget what they are in that business for (serving their customers, of course).

    So, in my view, if a company fully concentrates on serving their customers in the best possible way, it will be the customers who (by voting with their feet/wallets) do the “crushing”. I.e. the main priority shall be to do smth that benefits your customer, not smth that damages your competition.

    Just my USD0.02 ;)

  2. maria says:

    A shadow identity! How interesting. I totally approve. Most of my competitive reconnaissance missions involve looking for people’s ex-girlfriends on facebook.

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