How to Compete when there is Infinite Competition (Strategy for Authors)

Platforms built by technology companies are usually set up to have Infinite Competition

This is done for a variety of reasons, including Divide and Conquer reasons (dividing creators to benefit the platform), keeping people dependent on the technology company, and ensuring no single creator or company or supplier can become large enough to be independent of the platform, and preventing the rise of competing platforms

Your aim, as an Author or Publisher, is the exact opposite. You don’t want infinite competition. You want to become free of control by the Platform. You want to be self reliant and not at someone else’s mercy. You want there to be multiple platforms competing against each other for you (and not you being at the mercy of one monopoly platform)

In this post we will look at different ways to fight off the ‘Infinite Competition’ effect that Platforms create

First, one important side note

Be very wary if the Platform engenders Infinite Competition And Also Kills off Successful Companies/Creators

There are two different situations

First situation is where there is infinite competition, and then the winners are allowed to prosper

  1. Good examples are Microsoft and Apple ecosystems. It is difficult to succeed. However, if you do, then you are allowed to continue to do so
  2. With Microsoft we can see numerous software companies rise up in the Windows ecosystem and become multi billion companies
  3. With Apple we can see many App companies rise up in the Apple App Store and become multi billion companies

Working in these Infinite Competition platforms (Apple and Microsoft) is not ideal. However, if you do win, they will let you continue to grow and expand

The Second situation is where there is infinite competition, winners emerge, and then the Platform kills off the winners

  1. Certain Search Engines
  2. Certain Social Platforms
  3. Certain eCommerce Stores

You will notice that there are close to zero large companies that have emerged from these ecosystems. In fact, many of these platforms have turned large companies into small companies via exposing them to Infinite Competition

What is worse, if you are a creator or a vendor, is that in these platforms, after infinite competition, when winners emerge, the Platforms go out of their way to wipe out these winners

Instead of Survival of the Fittest, these Platforms believe in

Survival of No One other than the Platform

Working in these platforms and ecosystems is not recommended at all. There is no prize for ‘winning’. Because the winners are killed by the platform itself, in its never ending quest to keep everyone weak and divided

Before you put a lot of effort into the Herculean task of winning in an ecosystem where there is Infinite Competition, please make sure that the Platform owners are not homicidal maniacs who promptly kill off all the ‘winners’. You do not want to fight through the horde and emerge, and instead of a gold medal and riches, be rewarded with a knife in the back

That out of the way, let’s see how you can compete when there is Infinite Competition

Ways to Compete when there is Infinite Competition in an Ecosystem, or on a Platform

Here are some of the ways you can compete when there is Infinite Competition

  1. Quality – One of the most straightforward ways to compete is by creating the best quality products available on the Platform
    1. Even in the face of Infinite Competition, quality stands out
  2. Overwhelm the Competition – If you can release faster than anyone else, and more products than anyone else, you can overwhelm the competition
    1. Do note that this works in niches i.e. you can overwhelm the competition in one particular niche
    2. It does not work across the entire market
  3. Extreme Branding – If you can create an exceptionally strong brand, then even in a saturated market you can stand out and succeed
    1. A good example of this is Dollar Shave Club. That’s literally a billion dollar branding video
  4. Swarm Strategy – Swarm strategy says that you just release a swarm of products in different areas of the Platform, and focus on what works
    1. No matter how big the Platform, there will be areas that are unserved, and areas that are underserved
    2. Release a swarm of products, each in a different market area
    3. Sooner or later a few will turn out to be hits
    4. Then you concentrate on the hits
    5. Please do note that you will have to move very fast after you find an unserved market. The Platform will naturally move to fill the gap. You will have to move faster and become ‘The Company’ or ‘The Brand’ in this new under-served market you discover
  5. Switches Strategy – Switches strategy says that there are 10 to 20 different elements that add up to success. You can become world class in any one of these to win
    1. For example, an author can succeed by becoming good in 3 to 5 of these areas – finding the right marketing, writing very well, marketing very well, writing lots of books, understanding what readers want and writing that, building a strong brand, building strong relationships, selling more than books, etc
    2. Switches Strategy says – you don’t have to become good in all. It is also enough to become world class in one area. That alone will take you to success
    3. One way to beat Infinite Competition is to become world class in one area – whatever your core competency is
  6. Differentiation – differentiate yourself from others in the market
  7. Dominate a Niche – pick a niche that has very low competition (or no competition). Release a lot of products for it, before anyone else realizes. Create a very strong brand. Gather all the customers in that niche
  8. Premium or Luxury Positioning – Even in Infinite Competition you can succeed by positioning yourself as a Premium or Luxury or Aspirational Brand
    1. A great example is iPhone, which via quality and positioning, is dominating in luxury phones
    2. It is making more profits than all other phone companies combined
    3. Samsung, which targets the luxury segment in Android phones, is another great example
      1. Samsung makes more profits than all other Android phone makers combined
  9. Find an untapped market and be first or be best or have the most money – The old adage (Be First, Be Best, or Have the Most Money) still applies. Even in a Platform that has Infinite Competition
    1. The one important tweak is that you must find an untapped market
  10. Create a Market – With proper market research, and some testing, you have a decent chance of ‘creating a market’
    1. This is actually incredibly difficult, and takes a lot of testing
    2. It also requires a lot of money and time
  11. Address the High End of the Market – This is actually a fairly reliable strategy. In Platforms which have Infinite Competition, everyone rushes to compete on price and value for money
    1. Buck the trend and address the high end of the market
    2. Those clients do not care about money
    3. Find out what they care about, and deliver that
  12. Create your Own Market – Incredibly difficult and incredibly rewarding
    1. Do note that it is almost the same amount of effort to create your own market on someone else’s platform, as it is to create your own market on your own website or platform
    2. Always better to Create Your Own Platform, and then Create Your Own Market on your own platform
    3. Else the Platform can steal your market. They can, and will, kick you off the platform. Thereby, removing you from the market you created
      1. The only safe option is to Create Your Own Market on Your Own Platform
  13. Direct Channels to Customers – build direct channels to customers
    1. The platform becomes just the place to ‘purchase’
    2. Your direct channels to customers become the place to ‘reach customers and market and sell to them’
  14. Target Enterprise & Businesses & Small Businesses – While everyone is focused on end clients who have relatively less money, you can target small businesses and large businesses and enterprises
  15. Create a Small Store focused on one category – Having laser sharp focus on one category helps
    1. It helps even more to create your own small store
    2. In the beginning you gather readers from the Platform
    3. Gradually you switch over to focusing completely on your own store
  16. Build your own Ecosystem – Just go out and build your own ecosystem
    1. Unfortunately, this will be out of reach for most people. The best solution to avoid Infinite Competition is to create your own ecosystem, where you can control the level of competition
  17. Build your own Platform – A similar option to the previous one
    1. One good way to get this started is to invite high quality creators and suppliers who are treated poorly by the existing ecosystem
  18. Silent Agreements – This is illegal, so tread carefully. A silent agreement is where two companies (or two authors, or two musicians) will do a silent agreement to leave one market to one company, and another market to another company
    1. Please Note: We are not recommending this. Just pointing out this exists
  19. Collusion – Collusion is a broader area, which covers ‘silent agreements’ and many such arrangements. It can be things such as ‘everyone in Detective Mystery agrees to not chase prices to zero and price at $4.99 to $14.99’
    1. Please note: Again, we are not recommending this. Just pointing out this exists

The one problem you will see with most of these solutions, is that even after winning using one of these strategies, you are still at the whim of the Platform

Two Key Thoughts

  1. If there is a Platform with Infinite Competition, it might be best to walk away
    1. The reward compared to the amount of effort is just not worth it
  2. If that Platform also tends to kill the winners, then it is imperative to walk away asap
    1. The last thing you want is to make your way out of a bloodbath, and instead of getting millions as your reward, you get kicked off the platform

Infinite Competition is not something you should wade into

No one prospers, except the people creating the Platforms. It is not a coincidence that so many technology companies are trying to create Infinite Competition Platforms and then kill off the winners. They are trying to steal all the value that participants of the ecosystem are creating. Any rational person would not want to waste their time, money, and energy fighting on an Infinite Competition Platform

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