Many a times, I find companies adopting this kind of an approach – "If my competitor has a feature, then I too must have in my product". This leads to a host of useless features in almost all products. Things consumers find neither useful nor valuable. Also, the sameness starts spreading to how we market the product, the communication, the service and there is no differentiation left!
Kathy Sierra has this interesting post:
Why do we do it? My guesses are:
1) The Feature Arms Race. We’re afraid of falling behind our competitors.
2) We assume that if one of the leading competitors added something, it’s something users will want.
3) We assume that potential users will buy off a checklist, and we don’t want to come up short in a side-by-side feature comparison.
4) We have a compulsive need to add, since the idea of an upgrade that subtracts features seems counterintuitive.
5) New features are easier to promote than better/working versions of existing ones. Or so we think…
What would happen if we completely, utterly, totally ignored the competition? What if we stopped thinking about competition at all? Perhaps if we devote all of our attention to users (and our own ability to innovate), we’ll stop being dragged off into areas that build our feature list, but often at the expense of users. That development time might be better spent.