I know that sounds weird, but welcoming competitors is the best way to scale your category.

Because here’s the thing: While you want to own it, having your competitors in your category actually validates its legitimacy.

Here’s the perfect example.

Look at Uber and Lyft.

While both are giant multi-billion dollar companies today, there’s one underlying distinction between the two competitors.

Uber is the verb.

Uber was the groundbreaking first ride-hailing service launched in March 2009. It was first.

When people describe ride-hailing (even when ordering a Lyft) they’ll say “I’m going to Uber home.”

That’s why Uber is valued at $48 billion and Lyft at only $15 billion.

But here’s what people don’t talk about: It’s because Lyft entered their category, that Uber grew so fast.

If you look at Uber’s valuation over time, it skyrocketed from $346 million in February 2012 to $3.7 billion in August 2013. That’s 10X growth.

What happened in those 18 months?

Lyft launched in June 2012.

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