Confusing collaboration with competition

Most people own just one or two smartphones. If I own an Android phone, it comes at the cost of my owning an Apple phone. Therefore, Google and Apple are engaged in a classic zero-sum game tussle. Every iPhone purchased is an Android phone foregone.

But not every purchase is part of a zero-sum game. The vast majority of people on earth do not read books. The few people who do read, end up reading a lot of books. Getting somebody to read a book – any book – increases the likelihood that she would read more books in the future. Therefore, authors are happy to blurb their fellow authors’ books, even if they belong to the same category. They not competitors, but collaborators.

Confusing collaboration for competition is the world’s favourite pastime. It is costly to compete where we could easily collaborate instead.

Hat tip: Seth Godin

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