They say that “loose lips sink ships” which is completely true (cite: Human History). Did you know all the textbooks at Harvard business school have chapters having to do with how to gain corporate intelligence? It’s true, this is what they teach the MBAs who will go on to run America’s greatest companies. Indeed if you go look in the chapters of those textbooks it recommends getting information from the vendors who service your company but also go out and service your competitor’s company. Some might say it’s unethical to ask the vendors all sorts of information about your competitors.
In some regards that might be true, but don’t think that those vendors aren’t spilling the beans about your company to your competitors already. In fact, often your vendors will tell you that your competitors were asking about you and brought up the subject. If the vendors don’t like your company, they may give you misdirection, and your competitors may be giving misdirection to the vendors realizing that you are asking them questions, and they are giving you information. In many regards this seems a lot like the CIA doesn’t it?