CommonLounge Archive

Monitoring Competitors

December 11, 2017

Tools and techniques like Market sizing, identification of competition, classification of competition, and feature tables are used to better understand the competitive landscape. The common thread running through each of these tools and techniques is that their output is accurate for certain conditions that exist at a given point in time. The competition, however, spans time; the competition is never static; the competition never ceases to evolve.

As a good product manager, it is your duty to keep tabs on the competition and appropriately respond to any changes in the competitive landscape. There are five dimensions along which competitors are most-often evaluated — product core, number of users, brand perception, design, and speed. By keeping an eye out for these three major events:

  • Fundraising
  • Acquisitions
  • New features or new product launches

you will have your finger on the pulse of the competitive landscape and be well-informed to reallocate resources or augment future roadmaps appropriately. Doing is so essential to both your success as a product manager and the success of your product offering. This article will discuss each of these events and how they affect each of the five dimensions and list some information sources to ensure you stay up-to-date.


Venture capital (or even debt) infusion has the potential to affect the five dimensions in the following manner:

  • Improve the quality of the product core, marketing, adn design teams by using the funds to hire more and maybe better qualified individuals. Hiring on any of these teams could lead to improvements in engineering quality, product-related decision-making, brand perception, and product design.
  • By increasing the marketing and/or sales budgets, companies that have raised large amounts of capital can grow their user-base faster by spending more on acquiring each user (via discounts, generous referral programs, advertising, etc.) They can also improve their offering faster, as in the case of Netflix raising debt to bankroll content creation, in an attempt to attract more users.
  • Increase in the execution speed since non-specialized tasks may now be handed over to contractors, freeing up key employees’ time so they can focus on what they do best — improving the product for their customers.


Just like fundraising, an acquisition has the potential to:

  • Improve the quality of the product core, marketing, or design teams by bringing creative and innovation-producing talent in-house.
  • Increase the number of users by acquiring the networks that come along with an existing organization.

New Features or New Products

New features or products can augment the target audience for a given product or turn indirect, potential, and substitute competitors into direct competitors.

Where to Look

Information on fundraising and acquisitions can be found on:

  • Crunchbase provides access to a database that includes information on the amount of money companies have raised, the size of each round, the participants in each of the rounds, and any acquisitions made by the company. Follow your competitors here and set-up alerts.
  • AngelList provides information on the size of each of the investment rounds, the investors in each of the investment rounds, the acquisitions made by the company, product launches, and even the positions the companies are hiring for.
  • News outlets such as The Verge and TechCrunch.

Information on new product launches or new features can be found on:

  • ProductHunt is a website that aggregates new products launched everyday and sorts them by the amount of interest each has garnered.
  • AngelList
  • News outlets such as The Verge and TechCrunch.

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