Competition Does More Good Than Harm (Product Hunt Case Studies)

I will never forget a conversation I had with a startup founder last year. They were struggling to stay above water (and manage their time better), so they wanted fresh growth (possibly hacking) ideas. I suggested rallying up some founders who had not raised funding and celebrating bootstrapping startups. I also suggested taking a jab at their direct competitors, who have in fact raised funding. As soon as I suggested it, NO was said out loud.

No way, we want nothing to do with those guys.

Sigh. I think that all of us have this attitude – on some level – to stay away from the competition. But I think it’s rewarding to do the opposite.

For example, we all know spying on our competition is a smart move. Maybe we can steal their followers or see what new features they released. Maybe we can even catch a glimpse at their metrics, if they operate transparently, or our best friend is a hacker ninja wanna-be. Maybe…

But here’s a theory that beats the maybe’s:


The fact that you’ve been put in the same space with them or you’ve put yourself there cannot hurt you if you have the right attitude.

Take for example the day that Kiki Schirr and Justin Jackson launched similar books on Product Hunt. On the same day! Instead of being embarrassed (like Kiki put it, of wearing the same dress), they teamed up and did a fun podcast, and I’m sure they got more sales by doing so.

It’s so rare to see people stand right next to their competitor and being proud of what they’d made instead of trying to prove they’d done better. So, naturally, everyone loved that move and complimented them.

Take another example from Product Hunt:


Tweeting this screenshot got me dozens of re-tweets because it’s so inspiring to see a founder encourage another person to create something that could eventually compete with their own product! I mean, come on, it’s awesome!

Another tweet that got people’s attention had this screenshot:


I got this email the other day and thought, How wonderful that they weren’t put off or offended by my insensitive tweet (where I stated their competitors made a better product than them), but actually want to learn from it and try again. 

One last example and I’ll shut up: 😀

Yesterday I hunted Enhancv on Product Hunt (kudos to the team for a cool product!), but I could have left it for another time because I saw that Kevin William David had hunted I Need a Resume. Instead, I hunted it. Why?

Because competition does more good than harm.


I think both products were successful not in spite of but because of the fact they were both on top, begging to be compared. You see, they got people curious. Wouldn’t you compare them? I did.

So don’t steer clear of the competition. Embrace it for better results. 🙂


Question: Have you had instances where competition has helped you?

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