21 thoughts on “You — Not Your Competitors — Define Your Destiny”

  1. Or, put another way, how many photo sharing apps, find you friends at the bar geo apps, and me to YASNs (yet another social network, which however, are starting be sorted by the big giant head, FB), and yet with consumer hardware, there has to be some following on to fill the market.

    I think even apple has not realized the full maturity, not all of the peculiar use cases of the tablet. They all, Apple included, seems to be emulating standard computer use modalities, which is fine, but I think we are in for a long term renaissance. And I am not taking all verticals, either.

    1. Alan

      As always you do have a way of cutting through it all and hitting the bone hard. Keep leaving this comments for us to share. I am sure that there is a lot of people who would agree with you including myself.

      One thing I would disagree with you is that Apple doesn’t know that it needs to encourage different behavior. As a owner of the platform, they should count on the app developers to develop post computer use behaviors on their platform.

  2. It’s true, acting from your own intentions just brings you closer to your own goals.

    Those who follow and simply react will always leave their fate to whims of other people.

  3. Great piece Om! I absolutely agree on this. From my personal experience of running our cloud backup services, I can say that we did stay away from the unlimited storage in online backup, and it was proved right after nearly 5 years by Mozy that it is impossible to make money with unlimited and changed their course just recently.
    You may or may not become the largest or the biggest, but you will have loyal followers, and you will derive great satisfaction at doing things your way rather than follow competition.

    Raghu Kulkarni, IDrive.com

  4. I’d chose another image. Maybe one that doesn’t include the names of IRA.

    “Brendan Burns had by the time of his death already become part of South Armagh’s history, having been involved in a series of well-planned IRA attacks on British military installations and personnel.”


  5. In India, we say, “When Elephant walks, Dogs bark”. Apple is an Elephant, so is/was Nokia.

    Nokia never bothered about America, Apple, Android & kept doing its own thing. It is still a world leader by a huge margin, as we speak. It would have remained so for years, being #1 in Europe/Middle-East/Africa/Asia and most importantly emerging markets. So what made them buckle, I believe the noise unsettled them. What happens to Nokia will be an interesting case study.

    Likewise, it would be interesting to see, where Apple’s finds itself 3 years after Steve’s departure. They might give in to the competition, like they just did today, by re-approving readability app.

    So, while I agree, one must do his own thing but there is no guarantee that this will bring you success. One has to understand the market dynamics and evolve accordingly. My 2 cents.

    1. I agree with Vijay here. Steve Jobs leadership has been critical to Apple’s success. I think to be successful in a open market you need to ensure both reactive and proactive strategies are adopted. The strategic decisions are totally different in one company to another. But, it is how you put in motion those strategies will ultimately define success or failure.

    2. Om,

      I could not agree more strongly with your message. I lived my 25 years as an entrepreneur with that same strategy, and found it consistently led to success. For me the primary emphasis was on listening to our customers, and secondarily focusing on creating a great environment for our employees.

      Focusing on competitors leads to products that are one step behind the market, not to market changing new ideas. It can also strike fear into an entrepreneur’s heart, and paralyze them.

      – David

  6. On what happens to our lives, it is our own doing. We are responsible to what might be the outcome of our single step. Thus to be successful, it truly depends on you. No one’s to be blame but yourself. No matter how other people make your life miserable, if you let them, they’d be successful and you’d be the loser. Sometimes you need to be strong enough to withstand pain, surpass trials and when you fall down, stand up and never surrender. Raise your head up high, pray and you’d be successful in due time.

  7. I wonder if Apple would be the same original company without Steve Jobs. It’s interesting how one person can give a new direction to a whole organization, and it’s interesting that these people are rather few and far between. Yet it’s true, they give the true value, the rest are imitating. Not to be mistaken though, there’s a lot of money in imitating :))

    1. Aloys

      I do believe that they would fine in the short term without Steve, however things are going to be different if he (and some of the other senior managers) leave the company. I think it is unavoidable because these senior managers provide directional cues for rest of the outfit. I do believe that have a deep bench. a very deep bench indeed.

  8. The article is very resourceful. Its recent trend that individual/companies are driven by what competitors is doing/will do !!

    One should believe in his/her self.. I would print/bookmark this article for reference. thanks for wonderful article.

  9. Good points OM.

    The way I think about it is: If your leading – which should be your goal as a startup – your competitors need to worry about you, not you about them….Conversely, if you find yourself worrying about your competitors, you’re likely no longer leading

  10. Thanks for writing this, Om.  I think as we see the money flow back (and recycle) into & across the Valley we are going to be at a tremendous crossroads…again. There is an opportunity to pull forward the future and make our unique insights/capabilities real, rather than take the more predictable & disappointing route you highlight.

    In my mind, companies are very much like people. Your grandfather’s advice is wise, but will only work for people self-actualized enough to know deeply their unique gifts and brave enough to stray from the herd. Too many companies lack leadership with this level of insight & courage. I applaud your challenge for all of us to aspire to something greater . . . and less predictable–we might be delighted by the outcome.

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