Who likes competition? The average person would probably answer, not me! Competition can be stressful, that’s for sure. But the truth is, competition is our best friend in disguise. Competition is one of the crucial things we need to grow. The prize of a competition can be an award, a promotion, the largest market share, or a top grade at school. But whether we get the award or not, we are still the winner simply from competing because competition brings the best in us gives us and gives us a status or personality that is incomparably better than the one we had prior to the competition. Competition is a wakeup call that can shake us out from the comfortable, safe and mediocre. Competition raises the bar we have long set too low for ourselves and for others.
When I say competition, I am not talking about the kind us Ethiopians are used to. Competition for many of us is copy pasting. I open a shop that sells item X, another shop that sells the same item X with no differentiation whatsoever than mine opens right next to my shop. This does not raise the bar and get you a better market share than your neighbor. Neither the business nor the customers benefit much. The kind of competition I am talking about is the one that raises the bar. It is the kind of competition that results in a products or service that awes customers and make them wonder why on earth that kind of product or service took so long to reach them. It is the kind of competition that disrupts the way we are used to doing things.
Some years ago, there was a fuss among Ethiopian film makers and artists about the entering of Kana into the Ethiopian film market. So the main justification was that the Ethiopian film industry cannot compete with the Turkish and other language movies that are presented to the Ethiopian audience after being translated to Amharic. They said the Ethiopian film industry is at a very infant stage and therefore letting Kana in might kill it altogether. Some of you may share their view but I do not. Why? Because, in the absence of competition, the film industry is going to comfortably stay at the infant stage. And us consumers need something better. I have written an article on the film industry crying for a revolution that is much needed. I remember at that time the media was all over the film industry criticizing it and lobbying for a radical transformation. I am sorry to say but many of the Ethiopian film makers out there (not all, I have to admit) target the quick, dirty and the inexpensive. They have put the bar too low that the consumers also had to set theirs low. So, I say we need Kana more than ever, and we need more than Kana to shake the film industry out of its sleeping mode!
Take Ride for instance. I am sure many of you have heard the complaints that the taxi industry had put forward to drive Ride out of the market and forbid it credibility. Ride is a business that disrupted the taxi service in Ethiopia. Now thanks to it, other taxi service companies such as Taxiye, Lucy and Pick Pick are coming forward to push tax service in Ethiopia to the next level. Otherwise, we would have been stuck in the old fashioned taxi service that is full of inconvenience, is too expensive and untrustworthy. So, my point is, be it in our personal lives or in our careers, we shouldn’t fear competition. And we need competition that sets the bar high!