Welcome back.

Have you thought about subscribing? It's free.

What if the curves were going the other way?

Four ways to look at the state of our world.

What sort of story are we telling each other?

Infant mortality




War deaths



Plenty of room on the island

Have you noticed that authors often happily recommend books by other authors (even though an MBA might call them competitors)?

Not only that, but books sell best in the bookstore, right next to the other books.

It would be a stunning surprise if Tim Cook wrote a blurb for a Samsung phone. They live in a zero-sum universe, assuming that everyone is likely to only buy one or the other.

But for the rest of us, in most industries, it turns out that the real competition is inaction. Few markets have expanded to include everyone, and most of those markets (like books and music) have offerings where people buy more than one.

This means that if there’s more good stuff, more people enter the market, the culture gets better, more good work is produced and enjoyed, more people enter the market, and on and on.

So encouraging and promoting the work of your fellow artists, writers, tweeters, designers, singers, painters, speakers, instigators and leaders isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s smart as well.

The idea awareness cycle

Ignorance—We're too busy doing our jobs to notice that.

Dismissal—That? It's trivial. Kids.

Nervousness—Let's take a look at what they're up to, benchmark it, buy a research report… Bob, can you handle this?

Poor Copies—See, I told you it was no big deal. Our new model is almost the same.

Admiration—Wow, look at them go. Every once in awhile, someone comes up with something special. Good for them.

Special case—Of course, this won't effect our core business. It's working really well here because that's unique.

Superman—Holy smokes. Who is this guy?

Catastrophe/Doomsday—Run for your lives. It's over. Over forever and ever. 


[Today's example of how it plays out: Newspapers.]

This site uses cookies.

Learn more