The Best Entrepreneurs Are Hyper Competitive & Hate Losing

Posted on Jan 29, 2010 | 147 comments


ultimate fighterThis is part of my series on what makes an entrepreneur successful.  I originally posted it on VentureHacks, one of my favorite websites for entrepreneurs.

I started the series talking about what I consider the most important attribute of an entrepreneur : Tenacity.  I then covered Street SmartsAbility to PivotResiliencyInspirationPerspirationWillingness to Take Risks and Detail Orientation.

The list is getting quite long.  Funnily enough I was at the Twiistup conference yesterday and I was chatting with an engineer whom I really like and he told me that he enjoyed reading this series but that now he wasn’t sure he was ready to see me because he wasn’t sure that he scored highly enough on all attributes.  So I thought I better set the record straight.  First, I personally am not super human – I hope I’ve never implied that.  I’m just a normal person with strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies - just like you.

Nobody can be super human all all fronts.  Mark Zuckerberg seems to be me to be one of the most talented young technology professionals of his generation and seems to have an amazing vision for technology and product.  He has a willingness and ability to both pivot & take risks in a way that is astonishing to me.  Yet I don’t find him to be personally inspirational nor have I heard that he is from those who have worked around him.  So I’m personally not looking for a 10/10 on every front.  You need to be extremely gifted on some fronts to be enormously successful as an entrepreneur – but still human.

OK. I had to say it.

9. Competitiveness - One attribute that I believe most VCs look for in entrepreneurs is competitiveness.  I know I do.  I like to work with people who hate to lose.  Anyone who has ever been around me when I’ve lost at anything I care about will tell you I’m not pleasant.  I’m not a poor loser at all.  It’s just that I stew on it.  I don’t recover easily.  I lose sleep.  If I have any angle of changing the outcome I will.  I replay things in my mind about why I lost and I try to correct my mistakes.  If you haven’t read my post on the topic it’s here –> why you need to embrace losing to learn.

I look for people who share this obsession about winning.  If you stumble on to a really good idea believe me it will get competitive really quickly.  It amazes me how quickly a modest success story gets replicated and any initial product / market advantages get narrowed.  You can’t accept simply ceding part of the market to someone else because it’s big.  You need to fight for every inch.  Every win.

The trait spills over from personal life to business and back again.  My wife finds it curious.  Family scrabble games are fun – but I still want to win.  We played against her parents and I was focused.  I wanted to take them down!  Poker night is social, but if I’m playing, it’s to take your money.   GuitarHero is seriously chilled out way to hang out with friends.  But even more so if my score is higher than yours.  I ran a marathon with my colleague in 2003 – I’m still bummed that he beat me even though he was clearly more athletic.  For me winning IS the fun.

I know that people who aren’t competitive always find competitive people slightly distasteful.  They feel that there’s something egalitarian about everybody getting a trophy.  They complain that trying to win at everything is in being over zealous and is unnecessary.  Maybe.  Anyway, I’m sure this will play out in the comments section – it won’t be the first time I’ve heard it.

It is what it is. But I want to work with people who thrive on winning.  I look for that fighting spirit in those that present to me. Entrepreneurs play to win and they take losing seriously.  Think Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t have some sleepless nights about Twitter despite having more than 350 million users himself?  Think Yelp doesn’t wake up daily thinking about how to crush FourSquare?  Think Marc Benioff is content with being a billionaire?  I’m sure he seethes at any losses to Larry Ellison.

Steve Jobs is famously known for being obsessive about people not leaking Apple information prior to announcements (unless it’s intentional.)  It is rumored (and much debated) that Jobs dropped McGraw Hill (the book publisher) from any iPad announcements because their CEO went on CNBC the day before and talked about the iPad.  Certainly sounds plausible to me.  You don’t like leaks? Send a message and people will think twice next time.

leo the lipDon’t take it from me.  Take it from Leo “The Lip” – “nice guys finish last.”  Steve Jobs isn’t a “nice guy.”  Nor are Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Marc Benioff, Larry Ellison, Tom Siebel, Rupert Murdoch, Barry Diller or any number of people you’ll find who built empires.

I’m not looking for people to be mean and certainly not unethical.  Just people who play to win – every time.

Simple example. We were once looking at a very hot market segment (which I can’t name or the people I’m speaking about will be obvious).  We were considering funding one of the players in the category – call them Company A.  I knew the CEO of one of their competitors – Company B.  I called her to talk about her business and disclosed that I was talking to one of her competitors so that she didn’t feel compromised talking with me (we also disclosed to Company A that we were talking to multiply parties before reaching a decision).

Company B had already lined up a significant funding round ($20 million) from some of the most elite VCs on Sand Hill Road but hadn’t signed the term sheet.  She asked if she could fly the next day to meet with me and my partners.  I didn’t understand why she wanted to do this if she already had lined up such A-list investors but it was in a segment where GRP Partners is very strong so I it sort of made sense to me.  We rallied the troops to do a 6-8pm session the next day.  She brought her key team members and emphasized why their strategy was so much better than Company A and other players in the market.  It was very compelling.

In the end we decided not to invest in either company (retrospectively a good decision as the market is no longer “hot” and both companies have struggled).  I later reflected on why the CEO of Company B was so eager to meet my firm and at a moment’s notice was willing to fly her team to LA to take an evening meeting.  We’ve never discussed this but I’m convinced it was her competitive juices.  She couldn’t stand the thought of her main competitor locking us (or anybody else) up as an investor.  My gut says that she came 70% as a spoiler for Company A and 30% because GRP has a great reputation in this space.  I only say this because if you’re close to closing with A-list VCs – why rock the boat?  Closing funding of her own wasn’t enough – she wanted to affect the ability of her competitors to raise funding.

This competitive streak paid off.  We backed off our investment consideration because we were convinced that Company B was going to be a very fierce competitor (amongst other reasons).  Company A never raised their round.  6 months afterwards they laid off 75% of their staff and are existing on fumes to protect their IP to this day.  Brand name Silicon Valley firms had put in about $20 million into Company A.  Company B is struggling, too.  But they’re a viable business today and they have one less fierce competitor to contend with.

Another example. Everybody these days is fascinated by the “private sale” concept offered by companies like Gilt, Ruelala and HauteLook.

There are some great companies in this category but the initial category killer was a company called Vente Privee (which in French literally means private sale) from France.  From what I’m told the founders were already in the Schmatta (Jobber) business selling other people’s excess end-of-line inventory at bargain prices before there was an Internet angle.  There wasn’t the same end-of-life retail infrastructure that we have in the US (think TJ Maxx) so they had an early lead.  When the Internet part of their business took off there were a number of initial competitors.

Vente Privee already had market power.  They made it clear to suppliers that if they supplied these newly formed competitors then Vente Privee (by then a powerhouse) wouldn’t carry their products.  This was a bare knuckle industry.  It wasn’t good enough to win the largest market share – they wanted to crush their competitors.  Money was at stake.  Good competitors fight to win (within the boundaries of legal practices, of course).

Just ask Overture about Google (the “do no evil” company) and how they competed in international markets.  It wasn’t all smiles, hugs and let the best man win.  A lot was at stake and Google competed fiercely.  And won.

Whaddayouthink?

*** oh, and to close with some Leo Durocher quotes that are fun:

“As long as I’ve got a chance to beat you I’m going to take it.”

“Buy a steak for a player on another club after the game, but don’t even speak to him on the field. Get out there and beat them to death.”

“How you play the game is for college ball. When you’re playing for money, winning is the only thing that matters.”

“Show me a good loser in professional sports, and I’ll show you an idiot.”

“What are we out at the park for, except to win?”

  • http://www.astramatch.com/blog pemo

    or “If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?” Vince Lombardi
    says it all really…..

  • http://www.kidmercuryblog.com kidmercury

    lunatics ftw! lol i definitely got that attribute covered! phew! :D

  • http://www.kidmercuryblog.com kidmercury

    hmmm, this is probably one of the dimensions i score lowest on. i used to be a more competitive person — but then i realized how much i hate losing! so now i just focus on myself. i studied martial arts religiously for 8 years, one of the big philosophical concepts that was emphasized in my school was that the enemy is within. i'm also into astrology, that's sort of like my religion, and the school of astrology that i most resonate with is also one that emphasizes self-improvement over a focus on external enemies/competitors. it's all in your head, so just focus on yourself, that's the only thing you can really control anyway.

    you know how there is the quarterback rating for quarterbacks in the NFL…..we need to come up with the suster rating for entrepreneurs. i.e. “hmm i'm not sure about funding this startup…..what's the collective suster rating on the founders?” it'll be the new VC buzzword!

  • http://twitter.com/CathedralCEO Peter Lehrman

    Awesome post. You didn't mention it in your blog, but the analog between sports champions and business champions has always been incredibly useful and instructional to me. The most disciplined, most ferocious and most intelligent competitors are always the ones that win. Tiger Woods, Federer, Manning, Serena Williams, Lance Armstrong, Tom Brady, Jeter, Jordan — these are the athletic equivalents to Benioff, Jobs, Schmidt, Bezos, Gates, JP Morgan, Rockefeller, etc. They are tireless, talented, and they live to win.

  • http://www.jasonspalace.com/ jasonspalace

    all that matters is that he looks to kick some a$$!

  • http://www.jasonspalace.com/ jasonspalace

    all that matters is that he looks to kick some a$$!

  • http://www.astramatch.com/blog pemo

    or “If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?” Vince Lombardi
    says it all really…..

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Mark, two thoughts:
    1. I can tell a lot about competitive spirit by how the entrepreneur talks about his/her competitors. Mostly the knowledge of them and the level of detail.
    2. The rest is gut instinct. Unfortunately this is harder and I find this more important in my decision making.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Probably some truth to that. But some very competitive people don't make inspirational leaders. But you're right that they're probably tenacious, detail-oriented and work hard.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    That's obviously a tragic story – sorry to hear.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    ha. no, actually I don't claim to be superior in picking 'em. Time will tell.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    That's a great, great quote.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    That's a great point.

  • http://www.kidmercuryblog.com kidmercury

    damn i thought i left hardcore comments but this takes the cake. thanks for sharing your experience.

  • http://www.twitter.com/biggiesu Mike Su

    Another great post Mark. There's a fine line between being competitive and being a jerk, and that fine line is usually talent. Michael Jordan by any measure is a jerk, except that he's the greatest basketball player of all time, so they call him “competitive”. “He eats newborn babies? Oh, that Jordan is so competitive, that's what makes him great!” But I think you can be competitive without being a jerk socially. I think competitive non-jerks tend to have unpleasant spells – my wife always hates when I lose basketball league games cause I stew for the better part of the night and stay up at night replaying all the missed opportunities – but focus their competitive juices around the wars, not the battles. From what I've read, Michael Jordan wanted to win every single battle, even each drill during practice at the expense of the team. That's where I think you go from being competitive to being a jerk.

  • http://twitter.com/CathedralCEO Peter Lehrman

    Awesome post. You didn't mention it in your blog, but the analog between sports champions and business champions has always been incredibly useful and instructional to me. The most disciplined, most ferocious and most intelligent competitors are always the ones that win. Tiger Woods, Federer, Manning, Serena Williams, Lance Armstrong, Tom Brady, Jeter, Jordan — these are the athletic equivalents to Benioff, Jobs, Schmidt, Bezos, Gates, JP Morgan, Rockefeller, etc. They are tireless, talented, and they live to win.

  • Pingback: Hyper Competitive Sleep Losing Entrepreneurs? - Standard Deviations

  • http://www.jasonspalace.com/ jasonspalace

    all that matters is that he looks to kick some a$$!

  • Tereza

    Loving this discussion. I'll consolidate my comments here — sorry it's very long.

    Been super competitive (in sports — as junior then Div I) and then competitive in business and also done ton of studying and coaching in competitive strategy. All in, ~25 years. To speak for myself (and not to equate myself to the luminaries you mention) — despite blue chip academic cred, the true competitive times I viscerally dig into the intense sports experiences, not the classroom. Classrooms do not model lifelike competition. I don't think someone with ace grades necessarily has the dynamic competitiveness that tech requires. They're good at doing what they're told.

    For me, there's an adrenaline rush of hitting a volleyball hard as I can and it smacking the floor on the other side before the competitor knows it. And as the game elevates and there's more and more complexity, mind games and nervous energy, BOOM! you hit the floor again. You're playing to win and that's what it's all about. I never conjured that feeling in the classroom, but I do in business all the time.

    There are few entry-level jobs that afford this adrenaline rush as sales. Most other jobs are esoteric around competitiveness. There's nothing like that front-line accountability to see what someone's made of. I have a hard time trusting someone who hasn't done sales, or who says “I'm not really into sales”. Red alert! I need to trust that, when the chips are down, they can dig into themselves and put numbers on the board. This means calling people by phone, physically meeting people, flying in, making the ask, listening, rebutting objections, following up. Not just sending e-mails into the ether. If they haven't closed, they don't know what business is about.

    With competitive experience comes resilience. You don't get so freaked out when people try to f- with you. You've seen it before, and you've seen worse. Silly example — inexperienced volleyball players get freaked out by a jammed finger. The good ones learn to pull it out of the socket during the play, and win the point too. Preferably by aiming for the girl who jammed your finger in the first place. ;-)

    But resiliency comes from life situations too. Someone who's already been to hell and back is not so easily shaken — someone loses a parent when they're young; another was abused; someone worked three jobs to get through college. A lot of young entrepreneurs on the scene don't get the value of life experience. I love hiring hungry people with some edge that have something to prove. Amazing how loyal they can be when you give them a chance, a team to be part of, clear guidelines and metrics, and unleash them. Making this success happen matters to their core; it's not a hobby before applying to B-school.

    I'm not sure how as a VC you can judge competitiveness, other than getting to know the entrepreneur over time in many different contexts. Some profiles of people track easily to the norm (young BYT hackers that talk pro sports). Others, such as middle-aged suburban moms like myself — I'm not sure that the critical competitiveness is conveyed or perceived easily, even if it's there.

    A final note on family game night. A mother's perspective. I have nothing to gain by badly beating my kids at Connect Four. But competing is a critical, learned skill. My job is to teach them to get good at competing, love to compete, and model the tools/skills of having fun and being a good sport. So you can't pummel them — otherwise they'll be discouraged and not want to play. But they also can't win easily because then they'll feel entitled (the Trophy dilemma). Play so the kid just barely squeaks out a win much of the time, and occasionally loses (and has to peel themselves off the floor despite distress). And if the kid's not trying hard, then go in for the kill — thereby reminding them of the importance of hard work.

    As for my mother-in-law — I let her win every single time. :-)

  • http://www.jasonspalace.com/ jasonspalace

    all that matters is that he looks to kick some a$$!

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Mark, two thoughts:
    1. I can tell a lot about competitive spirit by how the entrepreneur talks about his/her competitors. Mostly the knowledge of them and the level of detail.
    2. The rest is gut instinct. Unfortunately this is harder and I find this more important in my decision making.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Probably some truth to that. But some very competitive people don't make inspirational leaders. But you're right that they're probably tenacious, detail-oriented and work hard.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    That's obviously a tragic story – sorry to hear.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    ha. no, actually I don't claim to be superior in picking 'em. Time will tell.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    That's a great, great quote.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    That's a great point.

  • http://www.kidmercuryblog.com kidmercury

    damn i thought i left hardcore comments but this takes the cake. thanks for sharing your experience.

  • http://www.twitter.com/biggiesu Mike Su

    Another great post Mark. There's a fine line between being competitive and being a jerk, and that fine line is usually talent. Michael Jordan by any measure is a jerk, except that he's the greatest basketball player of all time, so they call him “competitive”. “He eats newborn babies? Oh, that Jordan is so competitive, that's what makes him great!” But I think you can be competitive without being a jerk socially. I think competitive non-jerks tend to have unpleasant spells – my wife always hates when I lose basketball league games cause I stew for the better part of the night and stay up at night replaying all the missed opportunities – but focus their competitive juices around the wars, not the battles. From what I've read, Michael Jordan wanted to win every single battle, even each drill during practice at the expense of the team. That's where I think you go from being competitive to being a jerk. And I think the hang up most people are having is when they equate it to being a jerk 24/7.

  • http://KevinVogelsang.com Kevin Vogelsang

    I agree. Hating to lose is very important.

    More than that, I also find that most people that don't want to compete don't believe they're able to perform in that category.

  • http://terezan.tumblr.com/ Tereza

    Loving this discussion. I'll consolidate my comments here — sorry it's very long.

    Been super competitive (in sports — as junior then Div I) and then competitive in business and also done ton of studying and coaching in competitive strategy. All in, ~25 years. To speak for myself (and not to equate myself to the luminaries you mention) — despite blue chip academic cred, the true competitive times I viscerally dig into the intense sports experiences, not the classroom. Classrooms do not model lifelike competition. I don't think someone with ace grades necessarily has the dynamic competitiveness that tech requires. They're good at doing what they're told.

    For me, there's an adrenaline rush of hitting a volleyball hard as I can and it smacking the floor on the other side before the competitor knows it. And as the game elevates and there's more and more complexity, mind games and nervous energy, BOOM! you hit the floor again. You're playing to win and that's what it's all about. I never conjured that feeling in the classroom, but I do in business all the time.

    There are few entry-level jobs that afford this adrenaline rush as sales. Most other jobs are esoteric around competitiveness. There's nothing like that front-line accountability to see what someone's made of. I have a hard time trusting someone who hasn't done sales, or who says “I'm not really into sales”. Red alert! I need to trust that, when the chips are down, they can dig into themselves and put numbers on the board. This means calling people by phone, physically meeting people, flying in, making the ask, listening, rebutting objections, following up. Not just sending e-mails into the ether. If they haven't closed, they don't know what business is about.

    With competitive experience comes resilience. You don't get so freaked out when people try to f- with you. You've seen it before, and you've seen worse. Silly example — inexperienced volleyball players get freaked out by a jammed finger. The good ones learn to pull it out of the socket during the play, and win the point too. Preferably by aiming for the girl who jammed your finger in the first place. ;-)

    But resiliency comes from life situations too. Someone who's already been to hell and back is not so easily shaken — someone loses a parent when they're young; another was abused; someone worked three jobs to get through college. A lot of young entrepreneurs on the scene don't get the value of life experience. I love hiring hungry people with some edge that have something to prove. Amazing how loyal they can be when you give them a chance, a team to be part of, clear guidelines and metrics, and unleash them. Making this success happen matters to their core; it's not a hobby before applying to B-school.

    I'm not sure how as a VC you can judge competitiveness, other than getting to know the entrepreneur over time in many different contexts. Some profiles of people track easily to the norm (young BYT hackers that talk pro sports). Others, such as middle-aged suburban moms like myself — I'm not sure that the critical competitiveness is conveyed or perceived easily, even if it's there.

    A final note on family game night. A mother's perspective. I have nothing to gain by badly beating my kids at Connect Four. But competing is a critical, learned skill. My job is to teach them to get good at competing, love to compete, and model the tools/skills of having fun and being a good sport. So you can't pummel them — otherwise they'll be discouraged and not want to play. But they also can't win easily because then they'll feel entitled (the Trophy dilemma). Play so the kid just barely squeaks out a win much of the time, and occasionally loses (and has to peel themselves off the floor despite distress). And if the kid's not trying hard, then go in for the kill — thereby reminding them of the importance of hard work.

    As for my mother-in-law — I let her win every single time. :-)

  • Pingback: Is it wrong to “aim out of the ball park?” « Hard Knox Life – Dave Knox Brand Management blog

  • http://KevinVogelsang.com Kevin Vogelsang

    I agree. Hating to lose is very important.

    More than that, I also find that most people that don't want to compete don't believe they're able to perform in that category.

  • http://www.giarty.it Francesco Giartosio

    Now that you mention it – yeah, proving those 84 people wrong is a huge push! I find myself trying to anticipate the plan so that they won't be able to say that I was not ready when I met them …

    Francesco.

  • http://www.giarty.it Francesco Giartosio

    Now that you mention it – yeah, proving those 84 people wrong is a huge push! I find myself trying to anticipate the plan so that they won't be able to say that I was not ready when I met them …

    Francesco.

  • http://twitter.com/mikenarodovich Nads

    Bill: while undeniably tragic, my takeaway from your story is “Afghan business environment/norms differ from U.S. norms – be wary of unintended consequences” This anecdote does not change my views on competition; delineating between hyper/non-hyper seems too difficult.

    In China one mentor has told me that he has had to put a threatening competitor in jail/in trouble with the government before they get to him first. In my opinion, his behavior does not reflect on his personal morals. Different places, different norms.

  • http://twitter.com/mikenarodovich Nads

    The discussions here correlating sports performance/competitiveness to leadership/entrepreneurial potential remind me of this interview w/Mark Pincus in NYT on Jan.30 (http://tinyurl.com/yd7ghut)

    To personalize the analogy: the connection between my mentor and I started in 2005 playing 'competitive Ultimate Frisbee' (to some of you that might sound like an oxymoron, but it really is competitive out in Asia.) From my performance on the field -> captaining -> running the organization I earned the stripes and was offered a role at my first start-up (he was an Angel investor there.) We are now partnering a 2nd time with a start-up I am running day-day.

    Mark, I appreciate that drawing a line between competitive/hyper-competitive may be difficult for many of us. In the spirit of this series of posts, I reckon that what is to be frowned upon is a leader who is pugnacious – that might be one sign of “hyper-competitive.”

  • http://twitter.com/mikenarodovich Nads

    Bill: while undeniably tragic, my takeaway from your story is “Afghan business environment/norms differ from U.S. norms – be wary of unintended consequences” This anecdote does not change my views on competition; delineating between hyper/non-hyper seems too difficult.

    In China one mentor has told me that he has had to put a threatening competitor in jail/in trouble with the government before they get to him first. In my opinion, his behavior does not reflect on his personal morals. Different places, different norms.

  • http://twitter.com/mikenarodovich Nads

    The discussions here correlating sports performance/competitiveness to leadership/entrepreneurial potential remind me of this interview w/Mark Pincus in NYT on Jan.30 (http://tinyurl.com/yd7ghut)

    To personalize the analogy: the connection between my mentor and I started in 2005 playing 'competitive Ultimate Frisbee' (to some of you that might sound like an oxymoron, but it really is competitive out in Asia.) From my performance on the field -> captaining -> running the organization I earned the stripes and was offered a role at my first start-up (he was an Angel investor there.) We are now partnering a 2nd time with a start-up I am running day-day.

    Mark, I appreciate that drawing a line between competitive/hyper-competitive may be difficult for many of us. In the spirit of this series of posts, I reckon that what is to be frowned upon is a leader who is pugnacious – that might be one sign of “hyper-competitive.”

  • emily

    Hi Mark, great post as always! I believe that pure competition brings out the best in people. There’s nothing sweeter than beating someone fair and square.

    So, here's my proposal: We are both athletes and into fitness. You run marathons and triathlons and swim long distances. You recently purchased the DailyBurn app, read the Tim Ferriss 4-hour workweek book, and have a competitive and passionate mindset in everything you do.

    I run a fast mile, bike quick routes, and occasionally get my swim on. I am a former Division I college athlete, I recently purchased Tim Ferriss’ 4-hour workweek book, I can do more knuckle push-ups and pull-ups than most, and I am currently starting up my own Internet-based fitness business.

    Are you up for a fitness challenge? I hate to lose and so do you. So what do you say, a good old fashioned competition? If I win, I get to steal a lunch hour from you. If you win, well, that won’t happen – but let me know what you would like anyway. :)

    P.S. – This is all in good fun. I would love to chat with you either way. I think your blog is outstanding!

  • emily

    Hi Mark, great post as always! I believe that pure competition brings out the best in people. There’s nothing sweeter than beating someone fair and square.

    So, here's my proposal: We are both athletes and into fitness. You run marathons and triathlons and swim long distances. You recently purchased the DailyBurn app, read the Tim Ferriss 4-hour workweek book, and have a competitive and passionate mindset in everything you do.

    I run a fast mile, bike quick routes, and occasionally get my swim on. I am a former Division I college athlete, I recently purchased Tim Ferriss’ 4-hour workweek book, I can do more knuckle push-ups and pull-ups than most, and I am currently starting up my own Internet-based fitness business.

    Are you up for a fitness challenge? I hate to lose and so do you. So what do you say, a good old fashioned competition? If I win, I get to steal a lunch hour from you. If you win, well, that won’t happen – but let me know what you would like anyway. :)

    P.S. – This is all in good fun. I would love to chat with you either way. I think your blog is outstanding!

  • Pingback: The Best Entrepreneurs Are Hyper Competitive & Hate Losing | Roger Knecht

  • http://www.dustingtaylor.com/ Dustin Taylor

    Wow! I LOVE this article… maybe it's just because I get to justify my competitiveness now. :)

  • http://www.dustingtaylor.com/ Dustin Taylor

    Wow! I LOVE this article… maybe it's just because I get to justify my competitiveness now. :)

  • jojogirl

    I have an add on quote to the quotes at the end.. “You're not in business until you have a competitor”.

    I get heat about this at Least once a week!! I am SO happy for once this quality is talked about as a positive trait, not negative.

    In all honesty being a former athlete too I think it definitely can get out of control, like anything, especially in the circumstance where it's an unrealistic battle to begin…like a 10 year old street basketball player playing against pros. Granted he's going to get much better faster than playing with 10 years olds but if he beats himself up too much over that fact that he's not doing good enough it'll be nothing but stress, unhappiness, and anguish. And he can possibly get hurt playing with the 'big boys'.

    But I still can't agree with the people who say being overcompetitive is a bad thing though because no matter what bruises and sleepless nights that boy may have, he'll still end up starting on his basketball team and being 10x's better than otherwise.

    I guess what I battle with is Is the bruises and unhappiness until the time when your on top again worth it?
    Is that moment of glory worth the other and extended times of stress?
    This is I guess everyone's own choice though.
    I know for myself I was highly competitive from young and it is not actually a choice…(it just sounds like one).
    But I don't know yet how this will translate to business as this is my first true attempt!

  • jojogirl

    I have an add on quote to the quotes at the end.. “You're not in business until you have a competitor”.

    I get heat about this at Least once a week!! I am SO happy for once this quality is talked about as a positive trait, not negative.

    In all honesty being a former athlete too I think it definitely can get out of control, like anything, especially in the circumstance where it's an unrealistic battle to begin…like a 10 year old street basketball player playing against pros. Granted he's going to get much better faster than playing with 10 years olds but if he beats himself up too much over that fact that he's not doing good enough it'll be nothing but stress, unhappiness, and anguish. And he can possibly get hurt playing with the 'big boys'.

    But I still can't agree with the people who say being overcompetitive is a bad thing though because no matter what bruises and sleepless nights that boy may have, he'll still end up starting on his basketball team and being 10x's better than otherwise.

    I guess what I battle with is Is the bruises and unhappiness until the time when your on top again worth it?
    Is that moment of glory worth the other and extended times of stress?
    This is I guess everyone's own choice though.
    I know for myself I was highly competitive from young and it is not actually a choice…(it just sounds like one).
    But I don't know yet how this will translate to business as this is my first true attempt!

  • http://twitter.com/dwolchon Dan Wolchonok

    Great Post.

    Do you think that you can be too competitive? Is there a point where it becomes a negative? As long as you have high moral integrity, is everything in play?

  • dwolchon

    Great Post.

    Do you think that you can be too competitive? Is there a point where it becomes a negative? As long as you have high moral integrity, is everything in play?

  • http://twitter.com/Arwy Anna Borzilo

    I'm really enjoying reading your series though I'm very far from being an entrepreneur.

    It's probably not the best way to do it but you've made a couple of typos in the 4th paragraph from top:

    “Nobody can be super human at all fronts. Mark Zuckerberg seems to *be* (unnecessary word) me to be one of the most talented young technology professionals of his generation and seems to have an amazing vision for technology and product.”

  • http://twitter.com/Arwy Anna Borzilo

    I'm really enjoying reading your series though I'm very far from being an entrepreneur.

    It's probably not the best way to do it but you've made a couple of typos in the 4th paragraph from top:

    “Nobody can be super human at all fronts. Mark Zuckerberg seems to *be* (unnecessary word) me to be one of the most talented young technology professionals of his generation and seems to have an amazing vision for technology and product.”

  • http://twitter.com/Arwy Anna Borzilo

    I'm really enjoying reading your series though I'm very far from being an entrepreneur.

    It's probably not the best way to do it but you've made a couple of typos in the 4th paragraph from top:

    “Nobody can be super human at all fronts. Mark Zuckerberg seems to *be* (unnecessary word) me to be one of the most talented young technology professionals of his generation and seems to have an amazing vision for technology and product.”