When I was growing up, my best friend's father owned the first computer store in town. Although they would be antiques (or even artifacts) by today's standards, those computers were cutting edge at the time.

A couple years went by and another computer store moved into the same town. One day, while visiting my friend's house, I was shocked to discover that the owner of the competing computer store was having coffee in the living room! I was even more shocked to discover that my friend's father had helped his competitor set up shop. Later, I asked him why he had helped his competitor… wouldn't that drive away business?

His exact words to me were, “Competition makes us better.”

I have never forgotten those words but for a few years after, the reason eluded me. It wasn't until college — in which I engaged in a friendly (but very serious) competition with my roommate for who could achieve a better GPA — did I first start to understand the value of competition.