Ambitious but not aggressively competitive

 
I'm ambitious, but not aggressively competitive. A lot of entrepreneurs I know self-identify with both traits. I have no problem with that whatsoever; it's just not me.
It's one of many reasons I'm not the best sports player, though I do like playing for fun. I'm not the one who gets all heated and starts cursing or pushing people on the soccer field when we're losing. But that also means it doesn't really motivate me to step into overdrive, which can be quite useful if overdrive equates to better performance.

I also have trouble playing my best against friends because it feels weird to be aggressively competitive in those situations. But other people have no problem with that, and honestly I have no problem when they do it to me.

When it comes to startups, I think this combination of traits can work fine, at least early on. In many cases you shouldn't be focusing on one-upping your competition anyways at that stage. It helps me personally just stay focused on our vision and not get unnecessarily worked up about what everyone else is doing (though you of course have to be aware of and account for it). 

To some I think that not being aggressively competitive comes across as weak. I can appreciate that, and perhaps there is decent evidence that a lot of the major leaders (including in the tech world) share aggressive competition as a trait (Jobs, Gates, Ellison, etc.).  So maybe it becomes necessary if you're trying to take over the world as opposed to making a significant dent in the universe.

 

If you have comments, hit me up on Twitter.
I'm the Founder & CEO of DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track you. I'm also the co-author of Traction, the book that helps you get traction. More about me.