Your Competition Is … Everyone

Fusion Comic CharacterThe power of the human fight-or-flight instinct is a good way to understand how immediate challenges dominate our actions. As a business, your immediate challengers are the competition in your industry. The people that do what you do.

But there’s a bigger picture as well.

Ultimately, you’re competing with every other business on the face of the planet for the consumer dollar. You’re competing with changing technology. You’re competing with time as the world changes constantly. This is why every product or service has a limited product life cycle.

What Happened In The Comic Books Industry

This is a great industry to talk about here because there was a huge wave in the early ’90s. It looked like nothing could stop the comics industry. And then something did.

In the early ’90s, the top selling comics were selling over a million copies each month. Every month. The industry was so vibrant, a group of Marvel’s top talent left and started their own company called Image comics. They were hugely successful. This was an industry where talented creators were becoming millionaires within the space of several months.

The industry kept growing. This created a lot of fierce competition. The traditional kind. From other comic companies and creators. And then things changed.

Enter Windows 95. Enter the internet. Enter cell phones. Playstation. Computer gaming. The list goes on. Technology changed. The world changed. There were now many new things competing for the consumer dollar that had nothing to do with comics.

Today, the industry is working to grow again. In no small part, this is thanks to companies crossing over into other mediums like film and video games. The total dollar value of the comic book industry is still what it was 10 years ago though. The biggest selling comics are only moving around 100,000 copies a month with some titles peaking occasionally into the 250k realm.

How To Look At Your Big Picture

Crashing waves happen in every industry. History says so. To protect yourself over the long term, you have to think about how technology is changing. How the world is changing. And how your products or services have to evolve and change.

Take the internet for example; are websites competing just for dollars or for face-time? YouTube surfers spend an average of 28 minutes on the site. That’s a lot more face-time than the internet’s overall average. Google paid $1.6 billion dollars for YouTube to get that face-time in front of users.

Some questions to turn into action items for looking at the bigger picture:

  • Where are you in the product life cycle you’re in right now?
  • What emerging technologies are creating waves in a big way?
  • What could make you obsolete tomorrow if it occurred?
  • How must your business evolve? In one year? In five?
  • Who are the people you need? What do you need to learn? What strategic partnerships will get you into the future?

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