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You’re Not Paranoid – They ARE Out to Get You

AUTHOR: Craig Stanley 


“They’re coming to get you, Barbra….” Night of the Living Dead (1968)


In the classic line from Night of the Living Dead, Johnny teases his sister by telling her “they’re coming to get you.” While initially in jest, it turns out they really were out to get her.  In celebration of the season, lets take a look at what scares us in business or what should be scaring us, and who is coming to get us.


First, keeping your eyes fixed on your strategic goals shows focus, clarity and determination, but it’s not always a bad idea to take a quick look over your shoulder to see what’s closing in on you.  Paranoia may not be such a bad thing, as long as it’s of a constructive form.


Some of the most successful companies have always had a healthy paranoia about their competition catching up and passing them.  It helps keep them worried about continuous innovation, risk taking and all the actions that tend to set the leaders apart from the followers.


When you’re the leader, it’s always temping to coast and take it easy for a while, milk the cash cow, and enjoy that well deserved rest.  But, almost without exception, there is someone, somewhere trying to figure how to do what you do faster, cheaper, and perhaps, better.  And they are coming to get you.


Yesterday’s innovation is today’s competitive battleground and tomorrow’s commodity.  All innovation tends toward commodity; it is the continuous infusion of innovation and differentiation that keeps the enterprise one step ahead of commoditization. 


While being a commodity provider is not a bad thing, is being forced by the market to compete primarily on price part of your strategic business plan?  If you have no competitive paranoia, perhaps you should. 


So how does a business take that look over the shoulder?  First, you need a method or process to measure where you are in the competitive landscape that can be leveraged to gauge how others are performing.  This methodology is commonly called a benchmark and defines the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and metrics that matter most to the accomplishment of strategic goals.  These KPIs generally correlate costs & revenue to a quantitative value of resources created, consumed or modified.


Second, you need a source where you can find the same information and metrics for your competitors and others in your industry.  There are several organizations that collect competitive data, and in the cloud space, VMware’s Vision Benchmarking provides KPIs and peer analysis on the most significant cloud and virtualization metrics.


Lastly, you need a comprehensive analysis to highlight areas of strengths and weaknesses, identify potential opportunities and target the threats or those competitors who are out to get you.  Knowing the lay of the land and where they are on it gives organizations the information they need to main a lead, develop business strategies to move ahead, or keep an eye on that inevitable challenge to your market position.


You’re not paranoid; there is someone out there who’s out to get you.  Knowing it and embracing it can help keep the competition behind you.



Craig Stanley

Benchmark Practice Lead

VMware Vision Program