Question: In business, competition is bad but greed is good, do you agree or disagree?
It is essential to understand the context in which the question is framed by the first two words- “in business”, I think business sometimes is like a jungle and the ones who can afford to be greedy must have significant competitive advantage and keep striving to maintain it. There’s no such thing as sustainable competitive advantage, the moment you think you have an edge and can afford to rest on your laurels, the next minute you discover that the R&D department of your competitor has outsmarted yours and is delivering unique value to the market place. Old lions get deposed by younger vibrant lions as kings.
So as much as competition can create a level playing field in most cases, I think it is also grossly overrated. Competition often drives businesses to price cutting and quality dropping all in a frantic bid to please the customer who is only too glad to seat back and watch the competition rip their throats out and later come in for the spoils. It reminds me of a pack of hyenas fighting over carcass of a dead bufallo long after the lion and his pride have had their share. There is a reason why it’s called the “lion share” and the lion is called the “king of the jungle”.
The eagle is yet another animal who is widely considered the “king of the skies” due to their competitive advantage and predatory nature. An eagle doesn’t eat dead meat, and you’ll never see an eagle taking its lunch on the ground. Rather it takes its prey up on a mountain and away from other birds that may want a share of its spoils. Compare this with a vulture who only eats dead meat and mostly does so it packs competing with other vultures!
So in the world of business, we must distinguish between the lions and hyenas. The lions have no competition mostly because they keep creating new markets by constantly hunting for new “customers”. After creating a new market, and taking the lion share, the hyenas come in their large numbers to compete for what’s left.
We too can be like the lions, by constant innovation and looking at news ways to create new products and services and explore new markets. So what would you rather be? A lion or a hyena?