Seth Godin on racing and competition:
If you’re going to count on the competition to bring out your best work, you’ve surrendered control over your most important asset. Real achievement comes from racing ahead when no one else sees a path–and holding back when the rush isn’t going where you want to go.
This applies to so much more than just physical races like swimming. If you read the above quote (really you should reads his entire post) then you have to think about some tech companies that failed, and truly continue to fail, in grasping this concept.
There’s many more, those are just a few that pop into my head.