Many years ago I was asked to meet with a pair of college entrepreneurs who had an idea to create this “new” product. The catch was that this “new” product was identical to someone another client of mine had been doing for a few years.

I took the meeting out of professional curiosity and was a bit dismayed by what transpired.

The new company’s business plan was simply “the other company sucks” and “the owner of the other company sucks” so theirs would (by default) be better.

The new company’s marketing strategy was “we’ll hire the same photographer to create an almost identical looking product.”

The hour-long meeting involved 45 minutes of the two of them bashing and trash talking the other company. Then came 10 minutes of them attempting to find out “secrets” from me as to what made their rival successful. The final 5 minutes they wrapped up by returning to bash the other company.

Needless to say, I did not end up doing the project.

Flash forward in time, the two did release their product to dismal and crushing results. The product was dead upon launch – although I would argue it was dead long before that.

The sole and entire impetus for these two was to attempt to take down, shame, defeat or put down another company that they didn’t like.

Listen, it is not unreasonable to have a distaste for your competition; but to base an entire company and product or services off that is a fruitless effort.

Your views on your competition, or your enemies, does nothing for your consumers. The end users.

Instead – the better option is to focus on making something with meaning.

This is what my friend Sarah Burke did with her new venture The Rise Up Project. You can see the video here:

It is the story of an Arizona-based music teacher who, along with her 400 students, created a unifying voice to campaign for what they want to achieve. That is creating something for the right reasons.

James Patrick