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Founding Voices: Focus on Product to Rise Above the Field

Originally part of our Founding Voices newsletter series. Read more insights here.

Focus on Product to Rise Above the Field

Success attracts competition, and that’s a good thing. Competitors will push you to relentlessly improve your organization and product. But paying too much attention to what the competition says can turn motivation into distraction, and being distracted is a luxury you cannot afford.

If competitors target you with negativity and pointed marketing, stay the course. Double-down on your product, strive to make it bombproof and let the results speak for themselves.

 

“We just didn’t play the same game everybody else was playing. Everybody turned their guns on us in the first year, and we just kept doing our thing. What happened was they started to make themselves look small. We just tried to ride above it, and it worked.”

PHIL FERNANDEZ
Co-founder and former CEO, Marketo

Taking the high road is difficult. In the modern digital climate of snarky clapbacks and caustic one-liners, it’s tempting to follow competitors down the rabbit hole of combative marketing. This is a zero-sum game.

As a founder, it’s your responsibility to stay grounded and resist the urge to burn precious resources on responding to someone else’s gameplan. Focus on what matters—creating the best product—and let others worry about where you might be headed.

“As a company builder, you can’t allow yourself to slip into a reactionary mindset,” says Mayfield Partner Rajeev Batra. “There will always be others vying for your place. Use that pressure to grow, but don’t let the competition rattle your conviction.”

Rajeev Batra

RAJEEV BATRA
Partner

Enterprise, Consumer

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