Embrace Competition

embrace-competitionCompetition hurt my feelings

I'll admit it. My heart was crushed.

I had been running a lemonade stand for a day and a half. It was awesome. People were stopping by. They were buying. And I was making money.

And then it happened. Down the street, someone decided to spin up their own lemonade stand. And they were girls. And they were cuter. And they were closer to the corner.

It killed my business. I was sad. I was mad. And I wasn't sure I liked competition at all.

But competition also helped me

In high school I was in an advanced class for math – but not because I had passed a test. My test anxiety had gotten the better of me and I had bombed. But the professor had talked to others and heard I was a hard worker. So I was accepted into the class.

I spent tons of hours working, studying, doing the extra problems we weren't assigned. All because I wanted to get the high score on a test or at least be in the top 2 or 3 scores.

I rarely set the curve. But I was consistently at the top. All because I was competing.

We need to embrace competition

The truth of competition is that it is what you make it. Sure it can feel frustrating when someone does the very same thing you're doing – especially if they're doing it better. But the point is that it should drive you either out or up. And either one is good for you.

That's why I'm so excited to see that there's more competition heating up in the e-commerce space for WordPress.

  • It will push everyone to get better.
  • It will push everyone to make their software easier.
  • It will push everyone to support their products in the best way possible.

WordPress Digital Downloads

Months ago, if you were talking about digital downloads in the WordPress space, there'd be one name at the top of your list, for good reason. You'd be talking about Easy Digital Downloads, by Pippin Williamson. But others would challenge with their own products – many of which I've written about – that tried to make things even easier and quicker to implement.

Today another company decided to get into the market – iThemes, with Exchange. And that's a great thing.

SimpleDigitalDownloads

What iThemes brings to the competition

I'm particularly excited by this new market entrant because of who iThemes is and what they've already brought to the market. In my opinion, no other WordPress company has spent as much time or energy focusing on newbies just getting started with WordPress. Their focus on education is incredible.

So when you take that kind of company, with that kind of focus, and watch them bring a new product into the simple digital transactions space, you know three things:

  1. They're going to make their product easy.
  2. They're going to help educate new people getting started in e-commerce.
  3. They're going to keep evolving their product.

People who know iThemes, know them either because of their online video education, their BackUp Buddy product, or their Builder product. Each one speaks to the three dynamics of ease, education, and evolution.

And if they drive the rest of the market in that direction, you'll see it have an effect everywhere.

First signs, while I was beta testing it, demonstrate exactly what I'm talking about. Take a look at their new product page. It doesn't say – “look, I'm a blog post page that jammed some additional meta boxes in to make it into a product page.”

ProductPagePeople are already embracing competition

I was out of pocket most of the day, but as I reviewed the twitter stream of discussion around iTheme's launch of Exchange, I noticed that Pippin had already provided some great feedback.

This is the nature of how this amazing community embraces competition – and why it's good for all of us.

I can't wait to see how things evolve in the simple e-commerce space!

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Chris Lema
Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.