Bring It On

Watch Your Back

But even if competition someday becomes fun for everybody, it isn't going to go away. Ask Richter, who's constantly reminded that if he wants a market share, he going to have to fight for it. Richter recalls that in his company's early days, while attending a conference in a posh hotel in Santiago, Chili, he happened to spot an executive from one of his chief rivals, Telefonica, which provides telephone service to one-third of South American homes. Richter walked up and introduced himself as the CEO of Justice Telecom.

"Bah, Justice!" spat the rival. Surprisingly, the executive didn't twirl a handlebar mustache as he walked away.

"The dismissive [competitors] are the ones we go after first," says Richter. "It helps fuel the fire."

And if you can't hack the competition? Here's Geary's advice: "Get out of the business and move on."

If that seems harsh, Geary explains his thoughts this way: "There are a lot of guys out there who really get depressed, and have their businesses suppressed, because their competitors have put them in a box. If you can't enjoy the work, and it starts to take a toll on you mentally or physically, maybe it's time to do something different. That's what's great about living in this country. We have lots of opportunities, and people don't choose that opportunity enough. Not that you have to succumb, but maybe you aren't the best person to fight the battle."

Tough love from Jim Geary, someone who sincerely cares about your well-being. Or maybe not. Maybe Geary is only offering the advice because he wants you out of the game. After all, who needs the extra competition?

Contact Sources

Justice Telecom, (310) 526-2000

Roger Nagel, fax: (610) 398-1220, roger.nagel@lehigh.edu

SHYM Technology, sales@shym.com, http://www.shym.com

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Geoff Williams has written for numerous publications, including Entrepreneur, Consumer Reports, LIFE and Entertainment Weekly. He also is the author of Living Well with Bad Credit.

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This article was originally published in the April 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Bring It On.

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