Ignore your competition

A few weeks ago I was flipping through a copy of the Australian Financial Review's magazine BOSS (which is not as dreary as it sounds). It contained a story about Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com (perhaps you've heard of them?). It reminded me of seeing Bezos being interviewed by 60 Minutes back in the day when new web sites made it to mainstream media. I was impressed by his down-to-earth charm and nutty, un-self conscious laugh. At the time he also drove a humble Honda Accord to work (in spite of being worth 500 million).

In the BOSS article he made a remark I have been thinking about since: (paraphrased from memory):

Don't obsess about your competition. Obsess about your customers. After all when did your competition ever give you any money?

I don't think he was advocating operating in a vacuum. Obviously an airline needs to know about the weather as well as whether a passenger has a special dietary requirement or prefers Pinot Noir to Riesling.

Here's an interesting talk by Bezos at TED. Not a classic, but worth a look.

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