13 posts left…
The post I did a few days ago apparently resonated with a lot of people. So I decided to do a quick follow up. If a true ecosystem is not like two guys being chased by a bear in the woods, what is it like? I think the closest real life analogy I can come up with is the humble prairie dog. This is not a hero most people want to liken themselves to, typically. It’s more vermin than role model. But one thing is undeniable - they are a tremendously successful species that have next to no defense mechanisms. So how do they succeed when the fox is on the hunt?
Before I answer that, it’s important to know that prairie dogs aren’t exactly the most friendly beasts to other prey animals that compete for food - like rabbits or ground squirrels and so on. So those animals are not welcome in the prairie dog’s holes in times of plenty. Much in the same way executives are territorial about their intellectual property. But once a real predator, like a fox or a hawk is spotted everything changes. Now the prairie dog will let any prey animals into their holes that can fit, regardless of the fact they may be in competition normally. Now the prairie dog is strong enough to shove out many of those smaller creatures that seek refuge and let them get eaten, thereby removing one competitor, but they don’t and here’s why.
Predators need food to survive (think of a predator as a hacker that profits off of cyber crime in this analogy). If the prairie dog shoves their competitors out to be eaten, now the predator has been sustained. Every time the predator eats they gain enough strength to hunt again and possibly even produce offspring. This works completely contrary to the prairie dog’s goals. No, evolutionarily, the humble prairie dog, who has the biggest hole around, has learned that it’s better to save your competitors to starve your attacker. Starving the predator so they move on or die works much better over the long haul.
The last thing the prairie dog wants is more hawks around, even if that means the prairie dog would be in less competition for food from the other prey animals. Of course, I don’t expect executives to be as smart a rodent right off the bat. But maybe they don’t have to - maybe evolutionary forces are at work even as we speak - and those who fail to cooperate are being eaten. Meanwhile the attacker community grows to whatever the prey companies will support (monetarily or in terms of intellectual property or whatever currency the attacker trades in). There will always be predators in the wild, but the numbers can be limited when the prey work together.