Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes


When you’re authentic, you don’t mind competition that much yeah, it pisses you off and inspires us some fear and jealousy and all the other emotions that come along with it. But also you don’t mind because you’re more oriented towards the goal and the mission and worst case you get some ideas from them and there are often ways to work with the competition. Positively, and it ends up increasing the size of the market for you, yeah, sometimes it depends on the nature of the business Silicon Valley tech industry businesses tend to be winner-take-all, at least the good ones. So when you see competition, it can make you fly into a rage. Because it does endanger everything, you’ve built.


In contrast, if I was opening a restaurant and a more exciting version, the same restaurant opens up in a different town, that’s fantastic. I’m just going to lift from them what’s working and drop what I can see that they have already figured out is not working, so it depends to some extent on the business’s nature. that said, even the companies that seem like that they are often in direct competition aren’t they can end up adjacent or slightly different. You’re one step away from a completely different business, and sometimes you need to take that one step, and you’re not going to be able to take it if you’re busy fighting over a booby prize kind of you’re playing stupid gaming, and I win a silly prize it’s not apparent right now.

Because you’re blinded by competition, but three years from now, it’ll be obvious to give a simple example when I was first starting companies one of my first ones was called opinions which was an online product review site for all the products out there that were independent of Amazon and that space eventually turned into TripAdvisor and Yelp. Which is where we should have gone. We should have done more local reviews because there’s more value to reviewing a scarce item like in your local restaurant.

There is an item like a camera that was going to have a thousand reviews on Amazon. But before we could get there, we got caught up in the whole comparison shopping game, so we ended up merging with deal time. We competed with my Simon and Bizrate, which became Shopzilla and PriceGrabber and the next tag and a whole bunch of these price comparison engines. We’re all caught in fierce competition with each other, and that entire space went to zero. Because it turns out Amazon 1e tail completely, so there was no need for price comparison.

Everyone just went to Amazon, but we got the booby prize because we were caught in a competition with a bunch of our peers when we should have been looking at what the consumer wanted and being authentic to ourselves, which was reviews in that price comparison and gone more and more into more and more esoteric items that needed to be reviewed where customers had less and fewer data and wanted reviews more badly so if we’d stayed authentic to ourselves we would have done better.


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