- Regardless of what fantasies you have, you will almost inevitably have competitors for your product. In the same way that, when you look at a competitor, you think to yourself, I'm going to beat that competitor, I'm going to win, I'm going to crush the competition, they're thinking the same about you. The most important thing you can do, especially early, when you're a young company and you've got big competitors, is to be obsessed about your competitor's product, understand it as well as you can, understand everything about it, and then completely ignore them.
Focus all your energy on your business and what you're doing, once you've been obsessed and learned about their product. The same is true when you start having competitors come after you. Make sure you know what their product is. Make sure you know what they're trying to do and how they're trying to do it. Don't make up stories about what you think they might be trying to do. Don't create sort of paranoid fantasies about what might get you into trouble. Understand what they've got and what they're doing, and then focus all of your energy on your product, and your customers.
I see over and over again, companies that get into this endless cycle of chasing real or fantasy competitors, and it distracts the entrepreneurs from their business. You end up in the same way that you can end up with bright, shiny object syndrome where you're going after this thing, or that thing, or this thing, or that thing. Instead of focusing on what you need to do for your customers, you're worried about some obscure thing that a competitor is doing over there that may or may not impact your customers.
If you think it does, what they're building into their product, understand it, and really do something with it. But other than that, try not to get distracted in all the noise. It's likely, whether they're a big company or a small company, they've got all kinds of issues, just like you got all kinds of issues, as a startup. And the best way that you can make forward progress is to, again, obsess about their product, understand what it is and how it compares to your product, and where you need to create your own barriers of entry, what you need to be able to do to deflect against it, but then try not to spend much or any time thinking about them as a company other than that.
- Define “shiny object syndrome.”
- Identify your customer’s pain.
- Determine the scalability of a product.
- Recall the best time to initiate customer acquisition.
- Review the differences between a passionate employee and an obsessed employee.
- Recognize the benefits of domain experience when building a founding team.