True Startup Competition

Last weekend I was at SxSW to give a talk on Startup Pivots at the Lean Startup event held there. It was an excellent event put on by Eric Ries and Dave McClure. All the stars of the game were there; I was honored to be included.

I have been trying to decrease the number of startup events that I speak at and attend this year so I can focus all my energy on Performable. Despite this I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to share tacos and margaritas with my friends down in Austin.

While I was there I experienced something that has happened to me many times before. It always goes down like this:

Stranger: (walks up to me cold) “Hi, I’m XYZ from startup ABC.”

Me: “Hello, nice to meet you.”

Stranger: “I’m a competitor of yours.”

Me: “No, you are not my competitor.”

At this point the stranger becomes really confused, it is clear that he has been following the daily changes at my company, so he believes he has a good handle on what we are working on.

So why don’t I see that startup as a competitor?

I believe a startup only has one real competitor, indifference.

People not caring enough about your product is your true competition, not some other startup.

Please stop sweating other startups in your market. (Stop reading Techcrunch please.) They do not matter. Always solve for making people care.

Who are your competitors?

Note: I wrote this post on my phone so please excuse any typos or errors.