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Competition, No Killer

Founders often worry about competition. This is nothing uncommon, not bad either. Just not important. There are very few examples where competition killed a startup. It always something else that kills but mostly product. A sub-par product is a sure killer.

Facebook won over hi5 and MySpace because of the strength of its product. So does Google. Yahoo is struggling because it never tried to evolve with time.

In Bangladesh. GP leads in telco industry because it offers superior service compared to its rivals.

So, instead of worrying about competition, you better spend time in fixing your product. Understanding needs of your customers. And delivering something that people love.

Then complacency kills. Only change is constant. Google just lost more than USD $3.5bn in last quarter in its so called moonshot businesses. Why? Because Google is scared and trying hard to secure its future and avoid one like Yahoo.

Everyday new technologies are making old technologies obsolete. So do new companies taking over old and sluggish incumbents those are unwilling to change.

You must remain vigilant and paranoid about changes in the market and move fast to stay relevant as time goes by.

The possibility of getting killed by competition is rare. But a product that sucks will surely kill you and if you don’t change yourself and don’t evolve, it will change you for sure.

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Thanks to Ron Mahbub for feedback.

Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based writer, researcher, and entrepreneur. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and the author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about entrepreneurship, business, strategy, technology, and culture. He can be reached at [email protected]

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