Quit Comparing Yourself To Winners

November 23, 2008

Posted in Marketing and Personal.

In a conversation about web companies, we compare ourselves to Google.

If you’re talking branding, Nike is sure to come up.

For product development, it’s Apple we admire.

If you’re a marketing blogger, you want to be Seth Godin.

The list goes on and on.

They are outliers. They are the greatest of success stories in a million ways. And it’s not fair to hold yourself to that standard. You don’t have what they have and didn’t fight their battles to win their positions. You can’t follow the exact same trajectory.

Perhaps instead of comparing yourself to those companies now, you should look at their beginnings. As Jim Collins did in Built to Last, what did those companies do to become great?


  1. John Nunemaker — November 24, 2008

    Wow, really good post Chas. I’ve been thinking the same thing lately. It is really freeing when you stop comparing yourself.

  2. oak — November 26, 2008

    you’re right.

    i’m especially sensitive to the Nike reference, of course, as it is a well-known law of nature that, eventually, all logo conversations will reference Nike in some way, but i digress…

    …i think people tend to use the example of the number 1 in any field as an excuse for inertia. “we’ll never be nike, so that gives us a built in excuse for failure, and it also allows us to never commit to any shuddering steps towards greatness because we’ll stay here, mired at square one, trying to match that success in one quick, easy, step.”