Love your competitors – how great businesses do strategy | Alex Smith | TEDxFolkestone

Love your competitors – how great businesses do strategy | Alex Smith | TEDxFolkestoneWhat’s the secret to great business ideas, and successful business strategies? In this inspiring talk Alex M H Smith founder of Basic Arts reveals that it all starts with refusing to compete.

Alex M H Smith founder of



Drawing on examples ranging from Nokia and Southwest Airlines, to Extreme Ironing and Charles Darwin, Alex paints a new picture of how markets work that will make you see the world of business completely differently, and show you how you can uncover a winning strategy by not trying to win at all.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a decision maker at a successful company, or simply someone looking for smart ideas to sharpen your thinking, this talk will give you useful tips to improve your strategy immediately and reimagine the way you do business.

Refusing to compete is about so much more than mere business differentiation. It’s about choosing to be kind and generous with your competitors, stepping back, and letting them have what is theirs. Although it seems counterintuitive, this rejection of competition can help create the ultimate competitive advantage, and leads to amazing businesses which make a real impact on the world.

Along the way Alex explores:

The human tendency to make everything competitive, including things that really shouldn’t be

How competing with each other damages businesses, markets, and the people they serve

Why monopolies can be good things, and how every business has the potential to hold a monopolistic position in its category

Why market share is a bad way to measure a business success

And the similarities markets have with natural ecosystems, and what businesses can learn from them by copying their strategies

Finally Alex paints an inspiring picture of how things would look if everyone adopted a non-competitive strategy.

Alex is an award winning strategist known for his work with his company, Basic Arts where he aims to make companies without competitors.

You can follow him on Twitter (,
find him on LinkedIn (, and subscribe to the Basic Arts newsletter ( for more thoughts like this every month. Alex is a strategist and founder of Basic Arts, where he helps businesses create monopolies within their market categories. For him, the theme of “a reimagined future” at TEDxFolkestone connected perfectly with a new vision of business that are unfolding all around us, and which his talk addresses. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at