In the early days of Apple, Steve Jobs decided Microsoft was the competitor they were trying to beat. Bill Gates was the CEO he was trying to outdo.

This was smart.

Apple was a fraction of the size of Microsoft. But assigning a rival of this magnitude created a sense of equality.

It’s a ballsy move to try to take down a giant.

It attracts attention. People like ambition. It motivates you. It puts problems in perspective. It helps you see the bigger picture and the long term game, and your actions align to this grandiose vision.

In the end, you probably don’t take down the giant. But you appear more giant-like in the short term. The business appears bigger, more serious, and you win more customers.

But here’s the problem.

Most of us aren’t competing with giants. We’re competing with fellow Davids.

When I ran an agency in my home town of Birmingham, we’d regularly find ourselves competing with other Birmingham agencies for new work.

This was an illusion.

The problem wasn’t my agency versus that agency. The problem was why as a city we weren’t attracting more work from elsewhere. The problem was that we were all thinking too local in the first place.

If instead of seeing Gary’s agency down the road as our biggest rivals, we waged war against one of the other biggest agencies in the world, we might have been bigger ourselves.

Your competition is not who you think it is.

Think bigger.

Find an audacious rival.