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Bear In Woods Or Prairie Dog Ecosystem

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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.

9 Responses to “Bear In Woods Or Prairie Dog Ecosystem”

  1. Brian Says:

    Some executives have barely gotten to the point of not sabotaging each other within the company when they need to deal with a competitor, but I live with hope that they will eventually ascend to the level of a rodent ;-)

  2. Zac Says:

    I agree with Brian… and am annoyed he got this in first: the idea that the executives have to have more brains than the prairie dog.

    And since I live in Saskatchewan and have seen enough prairie dogs die due to sheer lemming-like stupidity… I have a full understanding of the distance these executives (and too many companies) have to go before getting close to smart enough to challenge this rodent.

    Wish I could say I shared his hope.

  3. austin Says:

    reminds me of the fable of the scorpion and the frog.
    (http://allaboutfrogs.org/stories/scorpion.html if you arent familiar)

  4. Sasha van den Heetkamp Says:

    Limited, Yes. Eradicated, No. Balance. Like the zebra is predestined to be prey, it eats grass for the sole purpose of becoming prey for lions. it’s the reason why zebra’s stay in the same place lions live. Their goal in life is to be prey. There never was one zebra pioneer who migrated to lion free grazing field, while it certainly has the freedom to do so. Ultimately, that is a trade-of. The zebra produces stock, more zebra’s than lions, and in return for the favor as serving for prey they get the privilege of grazing and thereby the certainty food for more offspring, and that offspring is kept in reasonable numbers by the lions. Symbiosis: There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute, and it’s true. maybe it’s their purpose to be fools? who knows.

  5. LonerVamp Says:

    Where do you propose the zebra should go that the lion doesn’t follow?

  6. Davi Ottenheimer Says:

    Interesting analogy, especially as the prairie dog is an endangered species.

    You also don’t account for predators that can enter the holes, like snakes.

  7. RSnake Says:

    @Brian and Zac - hahah!

    @Sasha - zebras weren’t made to be food, they just are. Just like companies weren’t made to be exploited - they just are.

    @Davi - endangered because of natural predators or because of human encroachment? ;) Don’t read too much into the analogy.

  8. buonzz Says:

    a prey become a prey if he cannot kill and defend itself from his predators.Before, man is a prey for sharks and other wild animals . But now, humans are the cause of their massive death and extinction, The same is true for bad hackers.

  9. buonzz Says:

    the bad guys can have all the power to hack. but it is only profitable if there are isn’t widespread hacking attacks. the more hacking happened, the more internet users you are discouraging from doing e-commerce transactions, till the day that no one ever trusts the “Internet”. so be it. Let the lions be starved by their own gluttony.