This week we’re moving on from EMOTIONS and NEGOTIATIONS to COMPETITION and Open Source Strategy! Read on to learn about:

  • Podcast #51 – COMPETITION with open source strategy expert Dr. Mekki MacAulay
  • (Un)Healthy Competition – and what to do about it!
  • Open Source Strategy 101 – your primer!

You can skim this blog or click on the links to learn more…

Let’s do this!


A synonym for COMPETITION is rivalry.  Rivalry over what?  Resources.  The resource could be status, ranking, profit, power, etc.

Competition & open source strategy expert Mekki MacAulay, PhD.
open source strategy expert Mekki MacAuley

Meet this week’s podcast guest, competition expert Dr. Mekki MacAulay, whose PhD. in Strategic Management focused on open source strategy, and who now works at IBM as an open source strategy expert. When it comes to competition, Mekki encourages us to create value by adopting an inclusive, transparent, open source mindset. 

In this podcast, you’ll learn:

Here’s a link to the SHOWNOTES for this week’s podcast with a printable summary. Mekki said he prefers reading shownotes (vs. listening to podcasts), since he processes information so quickly!  Yes, Mekki is a super-smart guy, as you’ll hear!

open source strategy expert Mekki MacAulay & Andrea Wojnicki
Mekki & Andrea (pre-Covid!)

Thank you, Mekki!

Click HERE to listen to the podcast now. 


Healthy competition is a good thing, right?  It encourages us to strive and excel. 

competition quote - simon sinek

But sometimes competition can be unhealthy.  You know that feeling… maybe at work when you start feeling anxious and perhaps defensive around certain people?  Truly unhealthy competition happens when people are deceitful, ruthless, and they hurt others to help themselves.

competitive sports
image: unsplash @ chuttersnap

If someone displays overly (unhealthy) competitive behavior that hurts you in some way, there are two explanations: 

  1. It’s the CULTURE of the organization.  In this case, you might want to move on. (Unless, of course, you’re keen to lead cultural change!)
  2. It’s the PERSON.

If it’s the PERSON, it’s likely due to one of three issues:

Many of us suffer from a lack of confidence and/or a scarcity mentality in certain situations. H.R. expert Tamara Finlay outlined relevant advice for us in terms of dealing with “negative people” in Talk About Talk ep.39 – including employing the “6 thinking hats” model or the “SCARF model.” 

You might also deal with overly competitive people by employing an open-source strategy:  explicitly communicating and implicitly modelling your intentions to promote mutual benefit

competition quote - Jesse Owens

 Got that?


You can say “Open Source Strategy” or just “Open Strategy.” The term “source” is a legacy derived from source code and open source software. Nowadays open source applies well beyond source code and technology. Most of the Fortune 500 firms now participate in open source strategy. 

open source strategy definition
image: unsplash @ sheri_silver

Open source is the opposite of power. Nobody has exclusive power over the thing that we’re cooperating on. That’s why anti-trust regulators love open source. Open source reduces fear of collusion.

Open Source means inclusivity.  Inclusive as in technology, engineering and business strategy all working together. Inclusive as in open.

  • Inclusive as in free. Importantly though, free doesn’t necessarily mean no cost.  Free means liberty, freedom. It is accessible and you can see it.
  • Mekki highlighted the frequent misunderstanding that open source is less secure, because you can see it. But in fact, the exact opposite is true. Since it’s open and we can see it, we can also verify that there are no problems.

 open source strategy book: "The Open Organization" by Jim Whitehurst

Open source adds value.  When firms collaborate through open source, they save money they would’ve spent creating and protecting things that don’t matter. Instead, they focus on the unique value that the firm offers.

Have you heard of “growing the pie”?

open source strategy grows the pie

image: Unsplash @ sheri_silver

Open source grows the pie. When firms participate in open source strategy, they reduce their costs and focus their resources on their unique value-add, which grows the whole pie. If each firm’s value is truly unique, then the firms aren’t fighting over the same pieces of pie at all!

The 80-20 Rule 

OK, it’s not quite 80-20.  More like 90-10!

At the end of this week’s podcast, Mekki highlighted that when it comes to open source strategy, technology is 10% of the equation.  What’s the other 90%?

“90% of the equation
is collaboration, helping, and
communicating effectively.”

And THAT is why we talk about talk, right?

Please let me know what you think about the COMPETITION podcast.  And please email me anytime with suggestions, feedback, or just to TALK!  I ❤️love to hear from you.

Have a great week and Stay Safe! 

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