Published on: December 3, 2009Now available on iTunes…
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Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe and this is MorningNewsBeat Radio, available on iTunes and brought to you this week by Webstop, experts in the art of retail website design.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve had a number of stories about the online wars between Amazon.com and Walmart.com. And yesterday, we had a story that used Jaws as a metaphor for how to avoid certain business mistakes. Well, I think I’ve found yet another metaphor that combines both of these stories...
The way I understand it from a segment from a National Geographic special, scientists have long believed that the great white shark was the deadliest being on earth. Well, not that long ago, people on a whale watching trip were viewing a feeding spot where great white sharks were munching on seals.
What happened next was instructive. A killer whale came into view, and engaged in battle with one of the sharks. And to everyone’s surprise, it didn’t go well for the shark. I think the phrase used on the segment I saw was “shark sushi.” You get the picture.
The way I understand it, additional research has shown that killer whales have figured out how to get the best of great white sharks. I guess what they do is that they have figured out how to hit the sharks from a certain angle that flips them on their backs...and that makes the sharks disoriented. In that moment, the killer whales attack. And the shark ends up as a meal.
Now, you can decide who you think is Walmart and who is Amazon in this metaphor. It almost doesn’t matter, because they both are big and hungry. But there’s also a lesson here for retailers that compete with them - sometimes, if you can hit a behemoth in an unexpected way and from an unanticipated angle, you can disorient it...and ultimately win. You just have to keep doing it, over and over and over.
Two other interesting things from the nature segment. One is that killer whales apparently have some sort of advanced communication system that has allowed them to share this shark attack technique - because a lot of them seem to know how to do it. And sharks are no dummies, either. Because after that killer whale picked off the shark near the feeding ground, the rest of the sharks vanished...because they didn’t want to end up being breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Maybe there’s a metaphor here, too.
Though sometimes the laws of nature are more forgiving than the laws of business.
For MNB Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.
- KC's View:
- As noted earlier this week, the original deadline for orders of the new book by Michael Sansolo and me - The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies - to be placed in order to have them delivered by the holidays was November 30...but the overwhelming response has led the publisher to extend it by one week, to December 7. So if you’re interested, click here .