Business Today

Sleep With Your Competition

Print Edition: Sep 16, 2012

I have always seen competitors as just that. Competition. Us versus them. A fight in which throats will be slit and blood will flow. Okay, you get the drift. We always had to be a step ahead and make sure they had no idea what we were up to. Then someone sensible wrote: sleep with your competition.

The article talked about how you should respect your competitors, try to be friends with them outside of work, and look at ways of collaborating with them to increase the market rather than chipping away at each other's market share. And then one day at FusionCharts, we put that goblin of wisdom into practice and carved it in stone thereafter.

At FusionCharts, we pioneered interactive charting in Adobe Flash. People loved the richness and fluid beauty of Adobe Flash and we got to 15,000 customers selling just that. Then the iPad came along and Steve Jobs decided it was not going to support Flash. JavaScript and HTML5 were the future.

Anyone who has ever built a product knows that a change of platform takes months, if not years. We did not have that much time to spare. So we decided to collaborate with a new player who offered simple but effective JavaScript charting, and built on that. Since they were new, they knew they could use the money we were offering. Win-win.

Today, both of us have come a long way. Our JavaScript solution is much better, with the competitor-cum-friend keeping us on our toes. Sleeping with your competition can do the same for you. It's safer than you imagine.

 WORDS OF WISDOM: Personal accounts by 50 of India's corporate leaders
 Schauna ChauhanDhruv Shringi
 Deep Kalra
Sachin Bansal


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