The other day, I was listened to a podcast and heard the incredible progress (and inventions) which emerged from the space race to the moon in the 1960's. It was amazing how many advances in aeronautics, science, technology and even velcro — came out of our billion-dollar endeavor. It got me thinking. It seems significant jumps in progress happen when intense competition is involved. Let me break it down:
MILITARY Competition - When two (or more) countries are ferociously attacking one another, their entire reason for living is to outdo the enemy. They will do whatever it takes, open up the financial coffers, and apply as many people to develop new ways to kill the opposition. A good example is the Manhattan Project, where the U.S. spent billions ($2 billion or $25.8 billion in 2012 dollars) to develop a weapon which ended WWII.
GLOBAL Competition - It's an us vs. them scenario - where global standing, influence and stature is involved. The Space Race is a powerful example of what two countries can and will do to come out on top. In 1961, the Russians shot a man into space . . . eight years later, we had a man on the moon.
BUSINESS Competition - Although not as cut-throat as Military or Global competition, Business competition can still decimate industries and quickly put the competition out of business. In 2004, Apple gathered a team of 1000 employees who ultimately developed and released the iPhone in 2007. At the same time, throughout 2005-6, Google was in the process of procuring companies and resources to also do the same thing. Some people still say that Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, learned of Apple's intentions while still on the board of Apple. He then directed Google to mimic many of the deliverables of the iPhone in the follow-up Google handset.
PERSONAL Competition - Where's your competitive spirit? What drives you? Are you willing to go the distance to produce real change in you department, division, company or industry? What can you do right now to start the process? Who are the drivers, the leaders, the shake-up-the industry personalities? Why don't you know them?
Stay tuned shortly for a follow-up post on what Apple does to motivate their new hires!