The brutality of competing on the internet

When you work at a normal day to day job you face some competition. When you work at an office you compete against your co-workers. If everyone else is significantly faster or better than you, then you got yourself a problem. If you have a small shoe store things are even worse. Instead of competing with the ten people in your department, you compete with established businesses more experienced than you, multinationals with millions of dollars and of course all the other businesses of your size.

Competing online

More than half of small businesses will not survive 4 years in the market. Considering the fact that entering the market requires a significant investment (and possibly a loan) you can easily say that it’s a pretty hostile environment. Becoming a great employee is something that takes guts and lots of hard work, but owning a business is quite a bigger challenge. However some people are driven by competition. What is a hostile environment to one, is a challenging field full of excitements and opportunities to another.

But what if you seek the most challenging work environment available? What if competing with your co-workers or other business owners is just not enough fun. The only place that can offer the maximum level of competition is the internet. When you own an internet based business you don’t just compete with the guy next door. You compete with the best in your field from all over the planet. For some people in their 30s (like me) who were born before the internet, it’s a little hard to conceive.

As we speak, my flagship product (a bookmark manager) is not only competing 50 other similar products but also google bookmarks and delicious. My best competitors are owned by two of the largest web companies with practically infinite resources. At any given moment they can throw in a room some developers far better than I can ever be, and some designers that can make me look like a kid playing with crayons to develop a product to compete with mine.

This level of competition is so high, that it ends up being the most brutal business environment I can think of. Yet for some strange reason, every time I think of it, I smile, make a cold coffee, and get right in my desk.