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Focus Your Energies Wisely

Don't spend so much time fighting competitors that you lose sight of what's important.

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I once heard that friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.So it's rather naïve to promote the idea that everybody isa friend. Benjamin Franklin believed that we all have enemies aswell as friends. However, focusing all your energies on destroyingyour enemies can be bad policy. Apple Computer fell into this trap,which contributed to its rapid decline in the early 1990s.

Throughout the 1980s, Apple Computer targeted IBM as CorporateEnemy No. 1 and designed numerous ad campaigns that were aimed atdestroying Big Blue (or was that Big Brother?). During the timeApple's energies were devoted to waging and winning the waragainst IBM, Microsoft was working furiously on the product thatwould all but consign Apple's Macintosh to the dustbin of theDigital Age. This product was a graphical user interface calledWindows that would make the IBM PC and PC-compatible clones as easyto use as the Macintosh. Had Apple not misidentified its true enemy(or competitor), the history of the Digital Age might be verydifferent indeed.

Excerpted from Ben Franklin's 12 Rules of Management

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