Thou shall NOT criticize competition

One of the most stupid things I always saw in our radio business is competitor-bashing. This is a very European attitude. Some people (including so-called VIPs) can spend a tremendous amount of energy trying to destroy their competitors reputation, or simply laughing at their product. This is a behaviour I will never understand. Not only does it show a scary lack of class and humility, but it’s also quite stupid on a long term strategy point of view.

Today, Loic published a wonderful post about that, and I can’t resist quoting parts of it.

One of the golden rules I have always applied to anything I do is to never criticize my competitors, here is why.

You never know what they or you will do next, they could be partners soon. I have many ex-competitors who became very close friends helping me all the time.

It is bad publicity for you, focus on the positives and improve your own product than try to criticize others. You build a bad image for yourself if you keep criticizing others.

They could buy your company. France Telecom launched in 98 a product directly competing with mine with an ad that looked like ours. Instead of criticizing I took them to lunch and a few weeks later they acquired my company.

Competition is good. Celebrate competition, it kicks your butt to deliver a better product faster. Celebrate it and just be better.

Competition grows your entire space. The more players on the market, generally the bigger the market.

Meet them. Have lunch. Exchange information. Both of you will learn. Don’t reveal all your plans, but some sharing is really good.

You could work with them to grow the space. I had launched with competitors in 96 the French Chapter of the Internet Advertising Bureau. We defined format standards for banner ads, put together a book and we all got more business from sharing and working together.

Say your competitors have great products and recommend them, you will build trust.

So, what do you say ?

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  1. Christian Rabago

    April 3, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Competitors are strategic in sense. They keep that one at a right tune before everybody can notice it.

    It’s true. Never give abundant criticisms to your competitor for after all everybody is outwitting one another. The strongest team will upjump while the weakest one leaves one pack behind.

    Visit me up at


  2. Michael Ray Dresser

    April 3, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Every business should have this posted in their meeting rooms!!!


  3. Dan

    April 6, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Great article, very well updated blog…tracked this from twitter.


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