In the world of start-ups, ignorance is deadly bliss

Posted: October 10, 2014 in Uncategorized
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There’s an old truism in venture capital that the worst answer from a would-be entrepreneur to questions about competition is anything along the lines of “Well, we really don’t have any.”   Because, the thinking goes, if there’s no competition there’s really no business.  And if there are competitors, which is probably closer to the truth, the entrepreneur has done shabby diligence and what else is he unaware of?

Know your competitive landscape like your backyard.  Know where you fit into it. Know who’s out there, and who’s doing what with whom. Know them better than they know themselves. Or, at least try to. The old saying was that “IBM can’t think of everything,” which was (and still is) true.  But never lose sight that, at any given time, there’s somebody wanting to solve the same problem you’ve identified. Especially if it’s big. And the bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity and the bigger the pay-off.  Get your head out of the sand, whip out your binoculars focused on the horizon. Make no mistake. Somebody’s out there and the faster you find out who it is and what they have (and don’t have), the better. Nobody said it more succinctly than Intel co-founder Andy Grove. Only the paranoid survive.

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