The Survival of the Crocodile

Download PDF

Whilst I was talking through a possible taxonomy of Jurassic business entities, S commented that it made most sense to be a crocodile. Which is something like a dinosaur, but smaller, more agile (mostly), better adapted and still around. It’s a thought. I’m not sure how well this analogy will survive, but it could be worth investigating.

3 thoughts on “The Survival of the Crocodile”

  1. It depends on what you mean by ‘best’. There is an argument that being T. Rex – dominant for a while then dying out – is better than being around for longer but less successful. Certainly very successful companies tend to die out, just because they are perfectly adapted for conditions that do not last for ever. Less well adapted companies can last longer. Which you think is better is a matter of taste.

  2. And thus we get into some seriously difficult territory: how do we measure a company? Do we care more about how much money it makes for its stakeholders, or how well it treats its staff? In an ideal world, that would be the same thing (see the history of Victorian factory reform for more arguments on that), but in our imperfect realities we do sometimes have to choose. And even then it's not that simple: sometimes where and how we choose to work is a matter of taste and personality. The conversation S and I were having was that our industry consists of very small (5 people), small and growing (100-200 people) and very large (10000 people) companies, in a birth cycle that spawns small spinoff companies from large ones, then rapidly grows those spin-offs to the 10-year point where the large companies' M&A envelops them.

    IMHO, the sum of total happiness is the most important measure, but shareholders may not agree with that. So sometimes we need to create happiness by subterfuge…

  3. Hmm, I tend to agree, in the abstract, but quantitative hedonics is in its infancy. How concretely can you judge if one company creates more happiness than another? Or even if one strategy creates more than another?

Comments are closed.