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Competition is Cooperation

There are two ways to compete - the old fashioned way and the realistic way.

In the old order, competition is about pitting one against the other, trying to better each other by challenging, testing, pushing - through feats of excellence, humor, adrenaline induced rush, energy and action. This is usually good for the overall edifice, but involves a lot of careful friction management - the art of toning down the bite while showing off the canines. To compete, we have to agree on rules and tools.

In a world where our competition is limited to those whom we know, and know well, this works very effectively. It is a "zero-sum in the market share, but non-zero-sum for the market size" game. It is also only relevant when we know whom we are competing against.

In a world where your base is the entire set of people who can see your work, this doesn't work well.. in fact, in the next few decades, it may cease to work at the highest levels.

Competition in our world is going to be impossible without a foundation of true cooperation. Our rules and tools aren't our making anymore. We are consumers of rules and tools. Our competition is no longer visible. 

For example, my children aren't competing with their class. They are cooperating with their class, to compete in a world of 100+ million of their cohorts (latest figures are 133 million children per year).

I am not competing with other peers in the same profession. I am collaborating with them to compete with future technologies that will take my place. Technologies that I cannot master without their agreement on what is "good" for all of us(**)

Cooperation is the strategy, competition is the tactical stance.

Cooperation is the long game, competition is the cycle that leads to next iteration.

Cooperation is the mother ship, competition is the recon operation to map out the territory(*).

(*) All of this falls apart if the base layers aren't working, of course - of survival, health, access, education, poverty-reduction. To work on those, competition isn't even a speck on the horizon, collaboration is not enough. We need the mother of collaboration - unconditional giving where we can.

(**)When we are a group of 100-1000, our genes are primary focus. When we are a group of billions, our gene-pool itself should be our focus.


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