(Image courtesy of aaardvaark)
Do you need to hate your enemies?
Business is all about competition. If someone buys your solution, they’re not going to buy from your competitor, and vice versa. So do you need to hate your enemies?
Recently, Kristine, PBwiki’s customer evangelist, struck up a Twitter conversation with the product manager at Microsoft that is responsible for SharePoint’s wiki. In other words, a competitor.
She shared with him a video about how PBwiki handles linking via a simple dialog box (which, by the way, is way ahead of SharePoint’s current practice of requiring users to memorize certain codes and paste in URLs).
One school of thought would say, “That’s providing aid and comfort to the enemy!” That school of thought says that you need to hate your enemies, burn their cities to the ground, put their women and children to the sword, and salt the earth so that nothing returns.
The other school of thought says that the greatest competitor isn’t a company, it’s doing nothing.
Kristine posted her Tweet to answer a user question about linking (Microsoft’s PM just happened to interject himself into the equation).
That user, and anyone else following the conversation, will see that the team here at PBwiki is confident in who we are, what we do, and that we will win any fair fight, and most of the unfair ones.
That’s how I feel. Being open, honest, and helpful, even to your competitors, is the best way to show one’s confidence and strength. That doesn’t mean giving away the crown jewels; save those for yourself. But providing a pointer to a publicly available video, allowing competitors to sign up for the product, and focusing on solving customer problems rather than worrying about some imaginary scoreboard versus the competition makes good business sense.