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Crying About Competition

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The other day, I read with interest the tweets from LeBron James and Dallas owner Marc Cuban.  They were whining about having to play other teams to get into the NBA playoffs.   I actually laughed out loud at their attitude.  I’d love to see the NBA have one-and-done play-in games to get into the playoffs with the bottom teams every year.  Maybe players wouldn’t take a night or week off to keep their legs fresh.  Maybe they wouldn’t be out with some phony injury.  It would be better for fans, and better for the game.

Michael Jordan would have never whined.  He would have played so hard his team didn’t need to be in a playoff.  If they were unfortunate and wound up in the playoff, you can bet your last dollar he would have been ready.

LeBron is a great player, but he would not be in the first five to ten picks if I was drafting an all-time team.  He doesn’t have the same moxie someone like Magic Johnson or Larry Bird had.  Those guys knew how to compete.  Jabbar, Chamberlain, Russell, Oscar Robertson, all competed like hell.  They didn’t “organize” so they could win a championship like LeBron did in Miami, or like he is doing in LA.

That’s the thing about greatness; it seeks out competition.  It’s not afraid of competition.  In a broader sense, LeBron’s lament is indicative of a lot of the things that are wrong about America.  We were founded on competition but you can find a fraction of the competition in American industry that there should be.  Lobbyists lobby Congress for friendly regulation.

I was having a chat with a new friend about the American health system.  It’s truly messed up.  But, the answer isn’t socialism or government-run health care. The answer is competition.  Most people don’t realize it but the AMA decides how many doctors can go into certain specialties.  It’s just like a union.  Unions are anti-competitive.

If you go to get health insurance in your state, it’s likely you are only faced with a couple of choices.  Why?  Mostly it’s due to regulation.  It should be easier to set up a health insurance company and compete.  That will drive service up, and prices down.

The American health care system also isn’t price transparent.  You have no idea what you are paying for anything and you don’t even know how the price was negotiated.  After going through the health system over the past few months I have experienced it first hand.  It’s crazy and no one would go to Home Depot or the grocery store and shop under a similar system.

Price transparency brings competition to marketplaces.

I was chatting with another friend the other night.  He is of my generation.  He said he might not be smarter than someone else but no one was going to outwork him.  Yuppppp.  When you work hard and compete, you make your own luck.

When startup companies I am invested in get afraid of competitors, I wonder what else is going on inside the company.  If you are doing something worthwhile, you will get competition.  Embrace it.  They make you better.  They keep the edge of your knife sharp.

America used to be a hypercompetitive place.  I always saw Europe and the way they did business as anti-competitive.  In Asia, things seemed rigged too.  Hyperconglomerates dominated markets and had pals in government that would make the way clear for them.  What doesn’t Mitsubishi make?

We have lost that in America.  We need to get it back.  Other places poked fun at how competitive we were, and how hard we worked.  That’s because they always finished behind us in the race.

The post Crying About Competition first appeared on Points and Figures.


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