It’s Not Competition, It’s A Learning Opportunity

Posted on October 26, 2011


In a recent blog, Mark Suster examined the trend of conducting product reviews through social media sites amongst technology start-ups. For anyone unfamiliar with a Facebook or similar “review,” visitors or users of a site are offered a chance to “like” or “favorite” a particular good or service. (“Review” offerings on social media sites range from cities and hotels to biotech companies and medical inventions.)

Suster points out that there is no option to “dislike” a product or service, resulting in a slew of positive reinforcement. However, the varying success a company or start-up has at procuring likes or favorites can still result in fierce competition amongst businesses. There’s no denying that there’s a big difference between 100 or 200 likes and 10,000 or 20,000 likes.

The crux of Suster’s argument is that one should never think of other companies with similar ideas or projects as competition. Rather, they’re instruments through which you can learn what is and isn’t working in the marketplace. You can improve your own good or service as well as how you market it by looking at what everyone around you is doing. Their failures and successes are lessons, not reasons to gloat or get jealous.

Instead of pushing on positive reinforcement as your own means of improving the status and popularity of the company, it is useful to assess your competition and compare and utilize their tactics to become the most successful in your field.