When little children want to hide, they just hold their hands up in front of their face. It’s a game you can play with them for hours. For as long as they can’t see you, then you’re simply not there. But as soon as you reappear, it’s a tremendous surprise! What a simple life – when you can just make everything and everyone »disappear« in a fraction of a second …Real life’s not like that, yet it seem that some companies still operate on the principle that »if I don’t see something, then it’s not there«. I am thinking here of the way competitors treat each other – mostly with suspicion, sometimes with abuse or just by ignoring them, in the worst case waging all-out war. None of which actually fits in with today’s business ethics. Surely nobody these days can afford to write off other suppliers in this way. It’s not as if the defamer’s offering is put in a better light as a result …We like to speak about the global economy – a great big entity that now and then needs to be rescued. But we can’t seem to cooperate even within individual sectors! It’s almost unheard of for supplier A to recommend – seemingly selflessly – that an inquirer go to supplier B, because that supplier will be better able to meet his needs. But why should this kind of thing be so rare? After all it reflects well on supplier A, because the inquirer then remembers him for having given him good advice. And that is a better reference than having bent over backwards to do a project you’re not really suited to.How often do we receive submissions where the sender writes almost apologetically that they have also sent their work to another publication! Really – anyone these days who has a problem with the supposed »competition«, is actually saying they have a problem with their own product, services or self esteem. There are thousands of ways of presenting one and the same content and all kinds of angles to take. Instead of picking holes in what others do, it’s better to concentrate on stopping the gaps in one’s own offering. There’s certainly no harm in learning from others, or in recognising that others may be better at some things. Only then do you find your own place, your own style, your own clientele. Because, quite honestly, as soon as the competition starts to disappear, you can be sure it won’t be long before the noose starts to tighten around your own neck … The sector as a whole is only ever as strong as the individual companies within it. Of course this doesn’t mean we all have to love each other – but a respectful tone and a healthy differentiation, whether it is about a shared issue or something very specific to one party, would help things along much better.