Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Spirit of Competition

Fangamer has several companies that we consider our competition. There are certainly no shortage of nerdy shirt outlets out there, and we actually know people from several of these companies personally.

Many of these people are very cool. Not all of them--there are certainly some scumbags out there--but I think most of the people in the video game merchandising industry are really awesome people.

Unfortunately, any attempt at friendship becomes awkward due to competition.

One of the things that Fangamer set out to do early on was to raise the bar for what video game merchandise could mean. I think we accomplished that. There are certainly still a lot of bad designs out there, but simply by virtue to existing and showing people that there were better options out there, that if you wanted a gaming shirt it didn't have to be a meme printed in thick plastisol on an itchy black shirt. It would be pompous to say that Fangamer was the sole factor in the general rise in quality, but I believe it was certainly a notable one.

Nowadays, we have to constantly innovate to stay ahead of the competition. There are things that we still do better than anybody else, but there are things we kinda suck at, too. I think it would be awesome if we had a culture where we could learn from each other; in which Fangamer and its competition could share their knowledge and mutually improve each other.

That's not how it is, though. Instead, we're competing with each other. If we're respectful of each other, we try to at least avoid stepping on each other's toes. If not, there's lying, spying, and bad blood.

Capitalism, folks. It's an unfortunate reality.

What I'd like to start doing is keeping an eye on our competition and start promoting the things they do well, to encourage good behavior. It was an idea I had a while back, but suffice to say that I don't have permission to do stuff like that through official Fangamer channels. If I'm to show support for our competition, I have to do that as Charlie, not as Fangamer.

Unfortunately, I don't really have time to keep up with our competition much. Maybe I should sign up for some newsletters, though...

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