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1. Under increasing returns, and under very specific mathematical conditions, markets become unstable. One product, one company, can take a great deal of the market…Think of America Online think of Microsoft’s dominance…think of Java.

  1. Brian Arthur (b.1945) U.S. economist. Interview, Strategy + Business (April-June 1998)


2. The largest profits go to those businesses which most devotedly follow a policy of insisting on a competitive advantage, no matter how small, for every product or service they market.

  1. H. Beeby (b.1932?) U.S. president of Pepsi-Cola International. Quoted in Offensive Marketing (Hugh Davidson; 1987)


3. Removing the non-productive cancer that has spread through engineering and manufacturing will hurt, but it is the only way to survive competitors.

  1. Gordon Bell (b.1934) U.S. inventor and computer pioneer. Spectrum (February 1989)


4. In a world driven by rapid changes in technology, empirical evidence indicates that the firms that prosper are far more likely to be those that face fierce rivalry in their home markets than the sheltered monopolists…the fear of being left behind is more likely to spur innovation than the security bred of stable market power.

Anne K. Bingaman (b.1943) U.S. lawyer. Speech, University of Kansas Law School (September 19, 1996)


5. IBM was a leader in mainframes in the 1950s. Then Digital became the leader of the minicomputer revolution in the 1960s. The PC era launched new names- Dell and Compaq, Microsoft. In each case the leader of one phase failed to dominate the next phase.

Michael Bloomberg (b.1942) U.S. entrepreneur, business executive, and Mayor of New York. “Terminal Velocity,” Wired (David S. Bennahum; February 1999)


6. I believe that if you’re going to take someone on, you might as well take on the biggest brand in the world.

Richard Branson (b.1950) British entrepreneur, business executive, and founder of the Virgin Group. “The Mavericks,” Fortune (June 1995)


7. Most people who have been around as long as Coke have become quite fat. I believe they’ve got very vulnerable skin.

Richard Branson (b.1950) British entrepreneur, business executive, and founder of the Virgin Group. “The Mavericks,” Fortune (June 1995)


8. Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map.

Wayne Calloway (1935-98) U.S. C.E.O. of Pepsico. Fortune (March 11, 1991)


9. The price which society pays for the law of competition, like the price it pays for cheap comforts and luxuries is also great; but the advantages of this law are also greater still, for it is to this law development, which brings improved conditions in its train.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) U.S. industrialist and philanthropist. “Wealth,” North American Review (June 1889)


10. Whether the law be benign or not, we must say of it…It is here; we cannot evade it; no substitutes for it have been found; and while the law may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it insures the survival of the fittest in every department.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) U.S. industrialist and philanthropist. “Wealth,” North American Review (June 1889)


11. There are two ways to compete-in stable conditions, you plan and you compete on scale. In unstable times, you live by your wits.

Dick Cavanagh (b.1946) U.S. business executive. The Winning Performance (1989)


12. Thou shalt not covet, but tradition Approves all forms of competition.

Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-61) British poet. “The Latest Decalogue” (1862), II. 19-20


13. The truth is if you don’t say you can do a job, someone else in the world will, and you’ll be left behind.

Richard D’Aveni (b.1950) U.S. strategist. “The Mavericks,” Fortune (June 1995)


14. This is not an age of castles, moats, and armor where people can sustain a competitive advantage for very long.

Richard D’Aveni (b.1950) U.S. strategist. “The Mavericks,” Fortune (June 1995)


15. Surpetition.

Edward De Bono (b.1933) British creative-thinking theorist, educator, and writer. Referring to an extreme form of competition. Quoted in In search of European Excellence (Robert Heller; 1997)


16. Again and again in business history, an unknown competitor comes from nowhere and in a few short years overtakes the established leaders without apparently even breathing hard.

Peter F. Drucker (b.1909) U.S. management consultant and academic. Harvard Business Review (January/February 1995)


17. The domestic appliance industry is dominated by the multinational companies which all know what their rivals are doing and which have no interest in upsetting the status quo.

James Dyson (b.1947) British entrepreneur. Financial Times (London) (January 1997)


18. You can’t win without being completely different. When everyone else says we are crazy, I say, gee we really must be on to something.

Larry D. Ellision (b.1945) U.S. C.E.O. of Oracle Corporation. Forbes (October 2000)


19. A zealous sense of mission is only possible where there is opposition to it.

D.W. Ewing (b.1923) U.S. writer and editor of Harvard Business Review. “Tension Can Be an Asset,” Harvard Business Review (September-October 1964)


20. To win against opponents, companies need strategies for three related tasks: outwitting, outmaneuvering, and outperforming competitors.

Liam Fahey (b.1951) British writer and consultant. Competitors (1999)


21. Competition rarely puts anyone out of business-a man usually puts himself out of business either by not making a good article or by wrong methods in sales or finance.

Harvey Firestone (1868-1938) U.S. founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber. Men and Rubber (co-written with Samuel Crowther; 1926)


22. The bigger they come the harder they fall.

Bob Fitzsimmons (1862?-1917) New Zealand boxer. Said before a fight. Remark (June 1899)


23. I found that competition was supposed to be a menace and that a good manager circumvented his competitors by getting a monopoly by artificially means.

Henry Ford (1863-1947) U.S. industrialist, automobile manufacturer, and founder of Ford Motor Company. My Life and Work (co-written with Samuel Crowther; 1922)


24. Perfect competition is a theoretical concept like the Euclidean line, which has no width and no depth. Just as we’ve never seen that line there has never been truly free enterprise.

Milton Friedman (b.1912) U.S. economist and winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Economics. There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (1975), Introduction


25. Oil is like a wild animal. Whoever captures it has it.

  1. Paul Getty (1892-1976) U.S. entrepreneur, oil industry executive and financier. Quoted in The Great Getty (Robert Lenzner; 1985)


26. IT’s the classic case of being at the party too early. Nobody was there yet and nobody had a drink. By the time we got there, the party was raging.

Mark Getty (b.1978?) U.S. Internet entrepreneur. Referring to early attempts to market digital images. Sunday Times (London) (October 2000)


27. Competition is warfare. Mostly it is played by prescribed rules-there is a sort of Geneva Convention for competition- but it’s thorough and often brutal.

Andrew S. Grove (b.1936) U.S. entrepreneur, author, and chairman of Intel Corporation. New Yorker (October 1997)


28. In a garage somewhere, an entrepreneur is forging a bullet with your company’s name on it.

Gary Hamel (b.1954) U.S. academic, business writer, and consultant. Digital Britain (January 2000)


29. Assessing the current tactical advantages of known competitors will not help you understand the resolution, stamina, and inventiveness of potential competitors.

Gary Hamel (b.1954) U.S. academic, business writer, and consultant. Harvard Business Review (1989)


30. Too many companies are expending enormous energy simply to reproduce the cost and quality advantages that global competitors already have.

Gary Hamel (b.1954) U.S. academic, business writer, and consultant. Harvard Business Review (1989)


31. We are ruined by Chinese cheap labor.

Bret Harte (1836-1902) U.S. author. Plain Language from Truthful James (1870)


32. Business is becoming more and more akin to intellectual sumo wrestling.

John Harvey-Jones (b.1924) British management adviser, author, and former chairman of ICI. All Together Now (1994)


33. The idea is to grind the opposition into the ground. That’s on and off the table.

Barry Hearn (b.1948) British sports promoter. Referring to his work as a snooker promoter. Independent (London) (April 15, 1989)


34. Leveraging America’s diversity will give employers a competitive advantage. We speak every language. We know every culture. And capitalizing on our diversity and immigration trends will position us to compete and win everywhere.

Alexis M. Herman (b.1947) U.S. politician. Labor Day address, New York (September 3, 1999)


35. Men often compete with one another until the day they die; comradeship consists of rubbing shoulders jocularly with a competitor.

Edward Hoagland (b.1932) U.S. novelist, essayist, and naturalist. “Heaven and Nature,” Harper’s Magazine (March 1988)


36. So far as power is concerned, does anyone believe the premiums of insurance companies are all almost uniform by accident?

Jimmy Hoffa (1913-1975?) U.S. labor leader. Interview, Playboy (December 1975)


37. We need to re-establish the blue water between ourselves and the competition.

Roger Holmes (b.1960) British business executive. Sunday Times (London) (September 2000)


38. We are a nation which has no illusions about the nature of international economic competition. It is never a race against one’s economic past but only ever a fierce contest with present day economic realities.

John Winston Howard (b.1939) Australian prime minister. Speech, World Economic Forum, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (September 11, 2000)


39. The Japanese are masters at making you peel the onion. You get through one layer and you are looking at another one just like it.

Lee Iacocca (b.1924) U.S. president of Ford Motor Company, chairman and C.E.O. of Chrysler Corporation Speech (January 1992)


40. In any competition an important element of grand strategy is to understand the strengths of the competitor. The more that Western companies understand what are the ingredients of the Japanese revolution in quality the more effective will be the Western response.

Joseph M. Juran (b.1904) U.S. business thinker. Paper presented at the 25th conference of the European Organization for Quality Control, Paris, June 1981. “Product Quality-A Prescription for the West,” (2000)


41. Cheap labor is not going to be the way we compete in the United States. It’s going to be brain power.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter (b.1943) U.S. management theorist, academic, and writer. Interview (1995)


42. We’ve created a solid niche-our main competition is the automobile. We’re taking people away from Toyota and Ford.

Herb Kelleher (b.1931) U.S. businessman and founder of Southwest Airlines Time (January 1993)


43. I feel sorry for those who live without competition…fat, dumb, and unhappy in cradle-to-grave security.

Donald M. Kendall (b.1921) U.S. C.E.O. of Pepsico, Inc. Quoted in How to Manage (Ray Wild; 1995)


44. Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.

John F. Kennedy (1917-63) U.S. president. Attrib.


45. It’s ridiculous to call this an industry-it’s not. This is rat eat rat, dog eat dog.

Ray Kroc (1902-84) U.S. founder of McDonald’s. Quoted in Big Mac (Max Boas and Steve Chain; 1976)


46. What do you do when your competitor’s drowning? Get a live hose and stick it in his mouth.

Ray Kroc (1902-84) U.S. founder of McDonald’s. Wall Street Journal (October 1997)


47. Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and only the pig himself.

Mark McCormack (1930-2003) U.S. entrepreneur, founder and C.E.O. of the International Management Group. What You’ll Never Learn on the Internet (2000)


48. If we had just continued the way we were going, we would end up being nibbled to death.

David Michels (b.1946) British C.E.O. of Hilton Hotels. Referring to competition from smaller companies on the Internet. Sunday Times (London) (May 2000)


49. Sustainable business must be built on recognition of fundamental economic laws. That must include an acknowledgement of competition, of its positive benefits and the severe penalties it can exact.

Mark Moody-Stuart (b.1940) British chairman of Anglo American and former chairman of Committee of Managing Directors Royal Dutch/Shell Group. Speech, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. “The Values of Sustainable Business in the Next Century” (July 12, 1999)


50. You can’t measure the value of being first.

Chris Moore (b.1960) British marketing director of Domino’s pizza. Marketing (June 2000)


51. Competition as most of us have routinely thought of it is dead.

James F. Moore (b.1948) U.S. writer and business consultant. The Death of Competition (1997)


52. Atom-based companies are finding themselves competing increasingly with bit-based companies that have an organizational structure advantage- a fact of the new economy.

William (Walid) Mougayar, U.S. consultant and management theorist. “What you can learn from the portals,” Computerworld (August 31, 1998)


53. On the Internet…competitive advantage has shrunk to a few months. If they don’t keep innovating, they’ll be overtaken. They have to keep adding digital value, adding services, building their brand.

William (Walid) Mougayar, U.S. consultant and management theorist. Interview, UpsideToday (1998)


54. I want to be at the table as a player when they move the pieces around in America.

Rupert Murdoch (b.1931) U.S. C.E.O. of News Corporation. Quoted in Murdoch (William Shawcross; 1992)


55. A prosperous competitor is often less dangerous than a desperate one.

Barry J. Nalebuff, U.S. author. Co-opetition (co-written with Adam M. Brandenburger; 1997)


56. There is no gap in the market unless you have shar elbows.

Andrew Neil (1949) British publisher and broadcaster. Sunday Times (London) (September 2000)


57. These people ought to realize that we are taking them to the cleaners.

Andrew Neil (b.1949) British publisher and broadcaster. Referring to a newspaper circulation war. Sunday Times (London) (September 2000)


58. When the competition is moving at 200 miles an hour, every second you’re in the pits matters a lot.

Doug Nelson (b.1944) U.S. regional vice president of Altria Group Inc. (formerly Philip Morris). “The Mavericks,” Fortune (June 1995)


59. Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.

Leroy Paige (1906-82) U.S. baseball player. Personal saying (1952)


60. The sovereign right of every listener in America to snap the switch and shut off his radio or to shift his dial from one station to another has been the greatest single factor in broadcasting’s onward march.

William S. Paley (1901-90) U.S. founder of Columbia Broadcasting Corporation. Theatre Arts (November 1943)


61. And then, if you’re IBM’s Akers, you continue to wonder why 50, 000 competitors, most of them microscopic, are eating your lunch.

Tom Peters (b.1942) U.S. management consultant and author. Liberation Management (1992)


62. Competitive battles are Niche Inc. v. Niche Inc., not Master Inc. v. Master Inc.

Tom Peters (b.1942) U.S. management consultant and author. Liberation Management (1992)


63. Overall size is largely irrelevant for competitive advantage.

Michael Porter (b.1947) U.S. strategist. Economist (1990)


64. Some people think that Japan’s success is due to cartels and collaboration. It is not. In the industries in which Japan is internationally successful, it has many fiercely competitive local rivals.

Michael Porter (b.1947) U.S. strategist. Economist (June 9, 1990)


65. Complete freedom of competition is the safest the most exacting, and, from the point of view of the nation and the state, the most profitable method of control of domestic and external trade.

Francois Quesnay (1694-1774) French political economist. General Rules for the Economic Government of an Agricultural Kingdom (1757)


66. As you seek to change every procedure and job description to aid responsiveness, remember the bygone days when we whipped big competitors by being faster and fleeter of foot.

Ronald Reagan (b.1911) U.S. former president and actor. Quoted in Thriving on Chaos (Tom Peters; 1987)


67. It’s like saying McDonald’s can’t serve chips with its burgers and asking it to give its secret recipe to Burger King.

Oliver Roll (b.1966) British marketing executive. Referring to proposals to break up Microsoft. Marketing (July 2000)


68. We’re eyeball to eyeball and I think the other fellow just blinked.

Dean Rusk (1909-94) U.S. politician. Speech (October 1962)


69. Competition policy is intended to ensure a fair fight, not to punish winners or protect losers.

Carl Shapiro (b.1955) U.S. academic and author. Information Rules (co-written with Hal L. Varian; 1999)


70. Competition is the final price determinant and competitive prices may result in profits which force you to accept a rate of return less than you hoped for.

Alfred P. Sloan (1875-1966) U.S. president of General Motors. My Years with General Motors (1964)


71. The goal of competitors is to prevail, not to preserve competition in the markets.

George Soros (b.1930) U.S. financier, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Atlantic Monthly (January 1998)


72. Mobile voice communications competition is basically over; there is no real differentiator among competitors.

Keiji Tachikawa (b.1939) Japanese IT executive. Forbes (May 2000)


73. Copycats are on the prowl at all times in all industries.

Michael Treacy, U.S. author. Discipline of Market Leaders (1995)


74. There is no such thing as a man being too proud to fight.

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) U.S. president. Speech (May 1915)


75. Tough is passé. Today, you’re dealing with a variety of head game. That’s where the cruelty is.

Abraham Zaleznik (b.1924) U.S. psychologist. Fortune (October 1993)