Luis Suarez – About competition and collaboration

Ten years ago, talking to competitors was a no-go. You know. We couldn’t even go out there on the firewall and talk to them, because hey you may release confidential information. Fuck that! You know, we all know what confidential information is, we all know what sensitive information is, it’s 1 per cent of the ninety-nine or hundred per cent of the stuff that we work with on a daily basis. So, going out there and practically engage with both customers and competitors, it’s just gonna be one with one single mission there, which was helping us improve your products. Right? And how helping improve your own products and make them better, right?

So, that’s how I see a little bit of the ecosystem with competitors as well. And I know that it’s not , for instance, this was funny. Because I can tell you a bit of fun story I have one. When we were in Italy last week on the social business forum, I had a couple of my fellow colleagues in Italy who were telling me, during the break, and one of them tell like “oh my God, I cannot believe that you have just done that”. And I go like “OK what I’ve ever done”. And he said “OK, I cannot believe that you have talked to Microsoft. You know like having coffee with Microsoft and customers”. And I go like “hello like they’re people, you know, and they have got the same needs someone saw we have, and if they are talking to my customers why would I not want to talk to them as well. I wanna be part of that conversation”. And all of that coming from someone like me who is doing internal evangelism. Right? You know, it’s not even part of my responsibilities to talk to customers, but still, I thought like, you know, I know those guys, I know the guys from Microsoft, I know some of the customers they were talking to, I just basically hang with them, had a coffee, we had a good chat, what talked about what they would doing, what I would doing, and the all thing hanging up there with a nice conversation and I said, you know, if I wouldn’t been there on that conversation God only knows what would happen for dinner, when they were supposed to be meeting all together. And they went like “yeah, but, you know, we cannot do this over here”, and I said “well, I just did, and I’m still here”. You know, like nothing happened.

So, you see what I mean, you see where I’m coming with regards to that mentality , you know we need to start thinking that instead of having aversion against competitors, that we may actually leverage from that “punishship” of having connections and conversations with them, and it still amazes people how I keep in touch with people from the competition. We used to be fellow colleagues, right? and they moved into the competition and say I… they’re the same people. They’re just working for different company and what I gonna do is I gonna try to justify whether I’m good enough for the product that I sell, and if I’m not I am doing my job wrong. And I need to change that. Right? So I say that is part of the whole ecosystem, and in fact I do wish that everyone else won’t stay that way, moving is much much better. I tell you why. It’s what happens in immersed industries. You know, you have quick competitors coming in kicking in, and you listen at they wanna do is they wanna go and grab your customers. With good products. Right? And if you are not able to deliver, why would you bother? Why would you bother and go and talk to your customers if your competitors are better than you. So that constant struggle of improving your services and who you are and what you do, is always nurtured, not just by the customer himself but also by what the competitors are saying about you. And that’s what it’s all about, you know, hence we can go to the Enterprise 2.0 conference and that’s exactly gonna be my mentality with all of the vendors that gonna be there. Right? And I’m gonna be doing exactly the same thing that I’m doing, you know, before, and if someone has got a problem with that, well, sue me. Yeah.

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