Space (commercial competition)

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Space is a contextual noun used to partially describe the abstract competitive set of a subject or subjects. The members of the space are almost always companies who supply services to customers.[citation needed] The important attributes of that particular space are defined by context and by the adjectives applied to it.

How to interpret the meaning of Space[edit]

By Example[edit]

"Company A was the second largest player in the space."

This sentence states that Company A was an important supplier of services in the chosen field. A company can be important in a Space, and yet unimportant in others.

"It is quite a slow Space."

Here an adjective is used to describe this space. Slow is pejorative, and temporal.

But the business context is that either:

  • the rate of new purchases is slow, or
  • that the customers are slow to sell, re-order or switch suppliers

Why the term is used[edit]


By using just the 'one' term the speaker can ascribe meaning to the Space itself or to its many constituent members. In fact, henceforth the term Space should be taken to mean both the Space itself or its constituent members unless specifically mentioned.

Leaving whatever is not defined as potential[edit]

The term allows the speaker to be selectively specific about some properties of the Space or its members. But whatever is not mentioned is left as undefined. This allows actions within the Space to occur without having to know how they will occur. A new Company can 'enter' the space by offering a new service to customers. The new service does not have to be specified. This is useful in a fast moving Technology market. The new service may not have been invented yet, or the customers may not yet know they need it.

History of the Term[edit]

Technological Change[edit]

The term Space became very popular during the Dot-com boom. It was widely adopted due to its ability to describe certain details of companies, markets, products and services. The remaining details were impossible to determine.


The word Space became synonymous as a Buzzword. Due to the ambiguity involved the term became favoured by peddlers of Snake oil. A peddler could use the term 'Space' and sound like they were describing facts. In reality they were describing attributes so general that they would have matched any group of companies.

Important Attributes of a Space[edit]

A Space can have one or more attributes. These attributes can be grouped themselves. When grouped, they can either define the range of attributes, or they can define the scope of the attributes.

Innate Attributes[edit]


There are two main ways of describing the size of a space. By defining the size of a space in a certain way, there are certain implications about the other way.

Number Companies presumed to also be a member of a Space[edit]

The size of a space can be measured in terms of the number of Companies who supply similar services.

A large number of Companies in a space implies:

A large amount of companies is defined in terms of the number of customers. Generally, a large amount is over 10 companies.

A small number companies in a space implies:

  • the market is new or
  • the market is in decline or
  • the number of customers is very small
Number of Customers & Value[edit]

This is closely linked to the Number of Customers. In a 'Space' it is presumed that any member of the space could potentially win all the customers.

A large number of customers in a space implies

  • that there is a lot of demand for a service
  • that new entrants to the space are likely

A small number customers in a space implies:

  • the market is new or
  • the market is in decline or
  • the market not very desirable for companies to compete for

Ascribed Attributes[edit]

Any adjective can be used alter the contextual meaning of a Space. Please see the examples.