News Alert: This old guy somehow managed to run five miles today. Okay, so I took a two-minute break to stretch out a bit at three but still. Nice to finally get back to pre-surgery form. Still running a bit slower but that will improve in time.

You know, it’s been so long that I forgot about the problem with running relatively long distances (hey, that’s long for me – no making fun of the old dude): It makes me feel so good, so relaxed, I don’t even feel like working.

Aw, what the hell; it’s a long weekend, nothing wrong with starting it a little early. Which I will do as soon as I rant a little about something that’s been bugging me.

I’m a little sick of folks claiming that business is not a zero-sum game because it doesn’t fit today’s millennial mindset. You know what I’m talking about. Everyone gets a trophy, everyone’s a winner, everyone’s equal, that sort of nonsense.

Granted, at a macro level, most markets grow over time and many do support more than one company with some pricing power. But at a micro level, business is almost always a zero-sum game.

In any transaction there’s just one winner and one or more losers.

When you buy a product or a service, you choose one vendor, supplier, retailer or provider. Just one. The others all lose the business.

When you interview for a job, the hiring manager chooses one candidate. Just one. The others all lose the job.

In the real sports world there are no participation trophies. One team or, in sports like tennis and golf, one individual wins. Just one.  

I can go on but you get the point.

I don’t care what all the millennial entrepreneurs say; if they’re savvy, they know that only market leaders have pricing power. And that translates into growth for the company, nice perks and compensation for employees, exceptional returns for shareholders and good business for vendors.

There is a twist, though. Business leaders do get to define their market, and a little creative market segmentation can go a long way if you know how to do it right and can deliver.

Apple does that better than anyone. When you buy an Apple product you know you’re getting a premier product, so you don’t mind paying more for it.

Anyhow, I just wanted to get that across. So when you hear entrepreneurs and executives talk like they’re not really in competition with anyone, just give ‘em the eye roll and move on. They’re either naïve or full of it. Either way, it ain’t good.

There, I’m done now. Carry on.

Image credit clappstar / Flickr