Great article! I have a particular appreciate for item #1 - competitors are worth looking at, but there is also the risk that just becuase everyone else does something, that doesn't mean it's a good idea. I've witnessed that in testing and applying a concept to a business that, well, doesn't work really for that particular business (for whatever reason).
Design is about coming to the best solution that inspires everyone. Compromise may happen during this process - but the final result is not a compromise.