Companies exist if the market exists, this is their foundation. Without that space in which goods and services are exchanged, the act of selling would not be possible, it would be a gesture in the void.
For most, the market is competition. There, the game is about producing the best offer for the customer among the other available offers. Thus, each time a company produces an improvement, the remaining ones must match it, or risk not being attractive.
So, you must go fast, beat the others, and not let them catch you.
But is the market really like this? is it true that it is a competition?
There is competition when the players involved play under the same rules. In a basketball game where one team is entitled to substitutions and the other is not, the point of competing is lost.
Do companies play under the same rules in the market?
And even if we say that this is the case, and that there are no lobbyists in congresses today, or intimidation lawsuits, or government protectionism, etc., we can still ask whether it really is a competition.
Apple and IBM do not sell the same thing, they’re not in the same race. The difference in their offerings is not that one focuses on one corporate client and the other on personal clients. The difference we all recognize between the two lies in their styles.
Thanks to its style, I can use a Mac as a garment and have it express my way of being. Then, saying IBM and Apple compete in style is like saying the Ramones and Pink Floyd compete, or that Star Wars and Star Trek do. In what ways is one better than the other?
Each is representative of a style and, with it, a way of understanding things. For a customer, one way of understanding things is no better than another by some quantifiable trait, it is simply a way that is especially illuminating to him about a central aspect of his existence. When Apple expressed rebellion, its products sold because customers were particularly concerned about a certain kind of freedom. And that Apple was moved by that concern was what made Apple singular, and others merely imitators.
If this is true, then what is the point of competing? Isn’t it precisely a caricature of authenticity to be more and more eccentric to differentiate yourself from others who are also trying to be authentic too?
The moral can then be, that it is worth more being authentic than being competitive.