One of my favorite past-times is to dissect competitors within a business sector. Sometimes the pairings are obvious (Barnes & Noble vs. Borders, Honda vs Toyota), other times I’m less confident (Target vs. Wal-Mart3, Facebook vs. Twitter). These pairings (or groupings) point as much at commonality across market offerings as they do project the direction of innovation with a sector.
My interest in these pairings can be traced to this scene in The Right Stuff marking the beginning of the Cold War1.
Reading through Cullect today, I found two people running, Jeff Goldblum-style, into Google proclaiming Sputnik was launched. From two – seemingly unlikely -places.2
“[Google] must compete, with a respectful product, one that is compatible with Twitter, and gives users a benefit of coming from a strong mature company. The time for this product is passing every week, as Twitter stabilizes and delivers a reliable service.” – Dave Winer
“Ad Blocker Plus is on the verge of turning into an open network that (finally) does the same as Google does: massively boost ad relevance, stripping out the useless junk — by factoring in whether or not people find ads useful or not.” – Umair Haque
Twitter and Ad Blocker Plus are far more interesting competitors to Google than the search and productivity offerings of Yahoo, Microsoft. Plus, they lay out 2 very different vectors for innovation.
As intriguing as these 2 potential-competitors are for Google and as tired as Google’s search product is. I’m not ready to declare ‘Sputnik’.
I mean, come-on, re-searchr is still very young.
“The world is big enough for both the paperclip and the staple.” – David S. Cargo
1. It’s taken a reading of both The Forgotten Man and 194X to have an understanding of why the USSR was our partner in the Cold War. It pains me to imagine American democracy as fragile as it appeared to be in the first half of the 20th Century.
2. The “Our Germans are better than their Germans” line cracks me up every time.
3. A more comfortable comparison to me: Wal-Mart vs. USDA Rural Development, Target vs. Minneapolis Parks and Rec.