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That was a notification from the PracticeNow support/ticketing system.

It usually means one of 2 things:

1. A customer needs help with something
2. A new customer has signed up

(I can’t lie to you. It’s the second that makes me happier ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Excitedly, I checked what caused the Ding.

And there it was, a new signup! Yay!

After I finished my secret celebratory dance, I clicked on the notification to learn more about the customer.

That’s when I noticed something odd. The email id seemed familiar. It was from a company I’d seen before.

After a quick bit of research, it struck me. The email belonged to the founder of a competitor of ours.


“Why would they want to sign up on our platform?”

“What if they learnt everything that we were doing and copied it?”

“We’re screwed!”

Thankfully, those weren’t my thoughts ๐Ÿ™‚

In fact, I’ve signed up on multiple other competitor platforms myself.

The goal was to learn how they were doing things.

“Could we make our platform better, for our customers?”

“Is there an important feature we’re missing?”

“How’s their onboarding and overall user experience? Is that something we can emulate?”

Every now and then, I come out of the experience feeling inspired (“We should improve our design skills!”), smarter (“I never knew we were missing that”) or humbled (“We have a long way to go.”)

So..if those were the reasons that this person had signed up on PracticeNow, it was a time for celebration!

We could now pay it forward.

It felt good, that we had improved PracticeNow sufficiently to now teach and share ideas and best practices with someone else.


But..what if they learnt everything about platform? Where would that leave us as a company? What if our customers switched ship

I’m reminded of an inspiring anecdote about Taiichi Ohno, the architect of the Toyota Production System.

A junior colleague once rushed to Taiichi Ohno with a crisis: their factory’s floor plans had been stolen. In the world of manufacturing, such blueprints were gold โ€“ detailed maps to efficiency and success. But Ohno, known for his revolutionary Toyota Production System, wasn’t fazed. His response was both calm and profound: “It doesn’t matter if they have our blueprints; they don’t have our people.”

This story, while its authenticity might be debated, captures the essence of Ohno’s philosophy. He believed the true power of a system lay not in diagrams or documents, but in the human minds that ran it โ€“ their skills, their culture of continuous improvement, their ability to solve problems creatively.

In the face of our competitor signing up for PracticeNow, I find comfort and confidence in Ohno’s wisdom. Yes, they might see our features, our interface, our approach. But what they can’t replicate is our team’s unique blend of creativity, our understanding of our customers’ needs, and our relentless drive to innovate.

Just like Ohno’s Toyota, our strength at PracticeNow isn’t just in what we build, but in how we think.

We’ll keep evolving, improving and experimenting relentlessly.

This is not just a useful strategy for business, it’s also a lot of fun ๐Ÿ™‚


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