Bear through the story for the revelation at the end.

When I was in college I was an avid chess player. I was pretty much the dominant chess player at my high school so finding some real competition at college was quite refreshing. What I hadn’t anticipated, was that some of the competition might be better and smarter than I was. The problem with youth, especially one used to being the top dog and conquering all that came before him at this game, was you start to wrongly think you’re invincible until someone comes along that just cleans your clock like it’s nobody’s business.

I’m sure you can see the parallels to business where someone dominating the market can incorrectly think they’re invincible and become complacent, same thing, different day.

But the story isn’t finished yet.

After being beaten at chess over and over by the same person, and after coming close to getting him a time or two but not being able to secure a win, I decided it was time to cheat. Not cheat really but throw him off his game and I could theoretically get a slightly unfair advantage. Anyway, the next time our chess club met for a friendly little game, I got there early and set up my distraction, a tape recorder with some prerecorded comments tucked away under the table with a remote control in my hand to play these comments on demand. I moved to place him in check as early as possible in the game so I could start the side-show and sure enough, I managed to get his king open and put him in check, pressed the remote control and the room filled with the sounds of a laugh track and me yelling “YOU’RE IN CHECK! WHAT A DUMMY! CAN’T YOU PLAY?” and the whole room fell apart laughing. Suddenly all eyes were on our game, I did the check laugh track a few times, my opponent was sweating bullets and lost his first game to me ever.

The point of the story is sometimes all you need to do to get an advantage against your competitor is to completely baffle them with bullshit.

This can be as simple as rolling out a new feature that your competition doesn’t have and promote the hell out of it like it’s the most important thing in your software just to throw them off their game as they won’t understand it and think you know something they don’t. While you have them distracted you can hit them with your real new big feature, where you think the money is, so they’ve been scratching their heads over your previous move when you move in for the kill. Now they have no good answer for customers and have to play catch-up just to get back to an even playing field.

If you can successfully manage to baffle the competition with bullshit and get them on the run, don’t stop, keep them on the run until you’re positioned to move in for the kill and CHECKMATE! they are done, less market share, crippled.

Just don’t fall for such tactics yourself and know when you see a snow job vs. something serious.

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