Studying People You Disagree With
One of the roles I have been tasked with for my employer, Enterprise Bank, is overseeing competitive intel and to report on what is taking place with both existing competitors and regarding emerging technology, specifically FinTech. The bank wants to know what the competition is doing that we've historically gone head-to-head with as well as companies coming out of left field who may overtake a portion of our business before we even realize what is happening. Having setup a matrix to collect this data, which is launching today, I'm glad to have a "box checked" on my to-do list.
Last night I was re-listening to an interview with the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape. During the interview, Andreessen said he doesn't study much when it comes to other VCs who are making long bets on exponential change, rather he studies value investors like Warren Buffet. Andreessen's next statement is one I believe warrants reflection, "he is betting that tastes and preferences will not change by investing in something like Heinz Ketchup. Buffet is betting that since people have liked it forever, they will continue to like it. Where as someone like me is betting something will change. He loses when things do change and I lose when they do not."
I found this point fascinating for reflection. Rather than study his competitors, he is studying someone whose principles and methods are a polar opposite. What might each of us learn from studying someone with completely divergent values/principles from our own?
Go Forth Boldly