Coopetition

As you probably know, matchmine participates in the media discovery marketplace, matching people with video, audio and textual information based on a sophisticated understanding of their personal interests and tastes. Building on the foundation of science and infrastructure developed throughout 2006, we’ve made great headway in the last few months putting the building blocks of our go-to-market offering in place. With those plans well underway and proven managers leading our key departments, I’ve had the luxury of late to spend more time reflecting on Strategy.

I’ve used some of this time to look outward, attempting to first identify and then get more familiar with the other players in the market. We’ve compiled a list of over 50 people in some form or another of media discovery, which is a much bigger universe than I’d expected. A small number of these companies are directly competitive with us. The vast majority, though, could just as easily be partners.

In 1994 I was fortunate enough to contribute in an infinitesimal way to a book called Coopetition, authored by the brilliant Adam Brandenberger. Adam foresaw the emergence of more complex interaction among companies engaged in the same marketplace, and applied tools from the world of game theory to help managers define new strategies for success.

A key takeaway: pick your fights carefully, and be on the look out for opportunities to collaborate with anyone on any issue on which your interests are clearly aligned.

I believe we find ourselves in just such a position with companies like Last.fm, LibraryThing, Jamendo, Flixster, iLike, LivePlasma, Shelfari, MusicIP, Qloud, Goodreads, WhatsOnMyBookshelf, Movietally, UpTo11.net, CozmoVideo, BooksWellRead and iZync.

More on this to come, but I think the potential exists for us to help each other in some significant ways. If you’re out there lurking someplace, please drop me a line.

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One Response to Coopetition

  1. Excellent point. I see the same opportunities in my marketplace, correctional health care, and have utilized this strategy to allow my company to focus on clearly defined core competencies which improve my new partners capabilities as well as allow us to both grow. Several companies that used to be competitors are now some of my best customers/partners.

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