Are those people idiots? How to think about competition.

A lot of founders who pitch me tell me that they're the only ones doing something.  They're in the same ballpark as a major player, doing something just one tiny bit off from what they are, and they expect this company to get their lunch eaten over the next seven years while an IPO-sized company is grown right under their noses.

The people who work at your competition...   Are those people idiots?

So there's this super obvious key to victory that doesn't require more than a seed round to prove out, and you've got someone already in the space with all the connections and awareness they need, but... what... They're just twiddling their thumbs like idiots?

I can't tell you how many times I've asked people that question.  It's not that I think competition really matters a whole lot in the early going--but what matters more is that you understand your market.  

I want you to be able to thoughtfully articulate why the competition is hamstrung.  Maybe you differ in your view of where the future of this industry is.  Maybe they got caught up using the wrong technology.  Maybe your whole design DNA is different.

Maybe it's just that they just don't care, or that their people aren't good enough to execute what you can execute.

Or, maybe their team is actually stupid.  That could be your bet--but if it is, own it.  Make it an intentional bet, not your fallback bet because you were too lazy to do any real market research or that you're not a team who knows enough about a market to be in it.