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ecology of Startups in the lens of a biologist

including pets and non-pets

ecology of Startups in the lens of a biologist

Postby admin » Tue Jan 19, 2016 4:08 pm

http://rabbut.com/blog/animal-planet-sp ... artup-zoo/

In this episode of Animal Planet, I’m bringing you to the southern portion of San Francisco Bay Area.

Over the past ten years, this part of the world has been highly populated with an emerging group of the inhabitant, called the Startup peeps. They’re highly intelligent, and perseverance group of homo sapiens that huddle together and build something that ripples across the globe. Think Evernote, Twitter, Facebook.

I’m a biologist by education, so I spend a lot of time in school studying interactions between animals. As you’ll see later, animals behave the way they do as a way to survive and thrive in this world filled with competitors.

When we juxtapose the examples we see in the wild with the examples in the startup communities, you’ll see the striking similarities in the interactions and traits that startup peeps practice and posses to stand out.

Mimicry is a similarity of one species to another that protects one or both. -Wiki

king snake
At first glance, Coral Snake and King Snake looks the same, you need a second take to tell them apart.

Coral snake its known for its vicious venom that contains neurotoxins that cause paralysis to breathing muscles.

King Snake, on the other hand, is nonvenomous.

It wasn’t an accidental for King snakes to be awfully similar in physical appearance to the Coral Snakes. As in turns out, that by mimicking Coral snakes, King snakes have a higher chance of survival against predators.

On other side of the spectrum, it’s innate for predators to know which animals is on the “do not disturb” list. As a good rule of thumb is the bright colored animals are the ones that you don’t want to mess around.

All animals exist with one purpose, is to survive and pass on their genes down the line. By mimicking traits that can fend off predators is the sole reason we have a difficult time distinguishing Coral snake and King snake apart.

Now if we look on the other side of the world at Zendesk and Freshdesk, the following dialogues get thrown around a lot.

They copy so-one-so ideas

Their services are just like that one company.

As Zendesk CEO would put it, “Freshdesk, A-Freaking-Rip-off.”

Copy or not, the similarities in the name and the interface stirred up some confusion for the prospects.

In its core, mimicry happens because one finds a validated idea can be used to his/her benefit. For businesses, copying from a validated idea lowers the risk of the initial investment to test if there’s a market for that idea.

Copying and stealing aren’t news to the world of businesses. It dates back to the 1900’s, here’s Picasso

Good Artist Copy; Great Artists Steal

Mutualism. Both Parties Benefit
Mutualism is the way two organisms of different species exist in a relationship in which each individual benefits from the activity of the other. -Wiki

perti dish with bacteria

There’re as many as 100 trillions microbes that are swarming in a human body right now. You know that the microbes were there when the fetid smell from your flatulence. The smell is a sensory cue of your gut microbes at work, churning and breaking down the protein, fat, and carbohydrates from that breakfast burritos.

Microbes don’t work for free of course, they, in turn, get a nice roof over their heads in your body, and they feed on your diet.

It’s a win-win.

Zooming out from the breakfast burrito filled stomach stands Joel Gascoigne.

For 1.5 years Joel Gascoigne had built up a reputation on Twitter. People liked his tweets, but his tweets frequency was never consistent, making it difficult for his followers to follow. In 2013, Joel was finally reached to a pain point with his tweets. Only if there was a tool that allows him to schedule his tweets, so he doesn’t have to keep up with coming up with new content to share daily.

That was the seed of Buffer.

Now at 1 million active users, Buffer is thriving because of Twitter, and Twitter, in turn, benefits from this tool that keep engaging users like Joel to stay on Twitter.

They depend on each other.

Parasitism is a non-mutual symbiotic relationship between species, where one species, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host. -Wiki

bird's nest
Unlike most birds, Cuckoo do not nature and care for their offsprings. Instead, Brood Parasites rely on other birds to raise its fledgling, without the host knowledge.

The host puts in energy and resources to raising the wrong babies, resulting in the morality of its child.

In this type of relationship between the host and parasites, only the parasite benefited, harming the host.

Dave Gooden first spotted parasitism back in 2011 from an online vacation home rental company, Airbnb.

He worked in the hospitality sector and had been using Craigslist as a platform to generate leads. He noticed that there were scripted email inquiries about his vacation home rental service, all of which directed him toward using Airbnb.

If his hypothesis was correct, Airbnb had leveraged Craiglist huge users based to lift up the awareness of Airbnb in the early days. Airbnb leeched Craigslist users right off from Craigslist’s platform. Craigslist would have lost users to Airbnb, contributing to the traffic growth for Airbnb.

What it looks like here is that Airbnb demonstrated parasitism by relying upon Craiglist’s resources to grow and nurture Airbnb in it’s early stage of the business. Craiglist, in return, didn’t gain anything out of this relationship, if not harmed in the process. Hadn’t it been Craigslist was there to provide for the fledgling Airbnb, Airbnb may not be 25 billion dollars business today.

Under the Dome
As we look into nature, a lot of animal behaviors that are are carried over to what we see here in the Startup communities.

Animals copy each other because it increases the chances of survival. In startups, it means to copy an idea that had proven to work from the other business increasing market acceptance.

Animals partnered up to combine strengthen to survive, just as companies collaborate. It’s good for business.

And lastly, parasitism happens as a way to thrive even if it mean harming other animals in the process. It’s a selfish act, but the parasites do what it takes to survive.

Translating this to the startup world, parasitism happens in the early stage of startups, when resources are limited. Startups leveraged established companies as a stepping stone to gain its initial tractions.

All in all, rather it’s the animals out in the wild or startups out here in San Francisco, we all have one goal, and that is to survive and thrive, craving a space in this world.
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