Playing by the rules

Every industry has an unspoken set of rules that govern how you operate, compete and play. By rules  I’m not talking about the legal structures we operate under or collusion.  I mean the mutually arrived at sort of symbiotic rule set that allows everyone to co-exist and eek out a profit.

These rules get reinforced by the industry over time by a process which I think is best described as collective thought. Basically all the players have the same information, probably the same people moving between companies, and eventually they all seem to think the same. Something to the affect of ..“We make money from X, so don’t do Y or we’ve ruined our own market…”

All this is fine if all the combatants are playing the same game.  But just recognise that in doing this you are probably leaving profit on the table, you are also horribly exposed when someone enters your game and starts playing by different rules.   

Google is one of the great rule breakers. They didn’t play by the advertising industry rules, neither did they play be the desktop application rules, they aren’t playing by the Telco voice rules, Rupert Murdoch thinks they aren’t playing by the media rules.  

So the question is, what rules do you adhere to in your industry? How could you exploit these? Perhaps even more importantly, how could you be exploited?


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