How to convince people your competitor’s new idea is better than yours: Yesterday, I was listening to coverage on NPR about how the new Steven Soderbergh film, Bubble, will be released in theaters, on DVD and on cable within a four-day span beginning Friday. From reading his blog, I knew that Mark Cuban is the connector between all of the pieces of this new strategy. What I noticed yesterday was that no one representing the traditional Hollywood studios or theater chains or directors who were interviewed said anything like, “Our way is better, so we don’t really consider this a threat.” It was more, “this is absurd.” I’ve never heard a more defensive crowd and the implication that “we’ll get them back” was thinly veiled in the comments.
As those who read Mark Cuban’s weblog know, he’s not one to hold back when he or one of his companies come under attack. His post today is a must-read on so many levels. Most importantly, it echoes something that Dave Winer wrote yesterday about how to respond to competition’s product or innovation. Mark and Dave both observe that when a product is challenged by something new, the natural reaction by a lot of companies (and the people who speak for them) is to attack “the new” (and even the individuals creating the new) rather than using the occasion to convince us of the superiority of their own product. How dumb is that? Such defensiveness only convinces customers that “the new” must be better.