Seth Godin on competition: support it or fear it

December 30th, 2008 by Eric Barroca Leave a reply »

My Competitive Nature is Such. [Credit: trashd @ flickr. See: http://flickr.com/photos/trashd]

Seth Godin has a great and insightful post about competition:

Some businesses prefer to catch you when you have no choice. They use market conditions or even patents to ensure that they can be the bully. I'm not sure that there's anything wrong with this, but I'm certain that it is a deliberate choice.

Other businesses, like Amazon, do better when they have lots of competition. Amazon has made it easy for other vendors to use their technology platform and even to sell items on their site. Why?
Because they understand that more competition brings more attention, more business, more commerce. And since they are organized for volume and are eager to compete, more competition helps them.

Seth is talking about Amazon's strategy vs the one of most online merchants. But he might be very well talking about open source vendors vs. proprietary ones…

Internet fosters competition. As open source does. We (open source vendors) like competition. We were born in this environment. We get our customers by providing value to them and we are keeping them by not stopping to. Unlike proprietary vendors, used to old ways: get customer through a low-priced entry ticket and lock them thanks to an overpriced exit ticket. It has worked long enough.

Old times are gone. The software industry is growing up, as customers are demanding for more. Lock-ins have lived. Open source is one of the results of this evolution. And part of the solution: stimulate competition to make solutions more efficient. The Operating System market got its stimulus (Linux has transformed it), followed by web app servers and many more. Now the mobile market is getting it too (in no particular order: Google releases Android as Open Source, iPhone's OS is heavily based on open source software, Symbian will be released as Open Source, Palm embraces Linux, Linux becomes a mainstream mobile platform). And I'm at the right place to see (and help) it coming to the shores of ECM.

The future, for vendors, is about leveraging competition, not preventing it. And I'm thrilled to see this coming!

Let's compete!

EB.