Magazine article Management Today

Why Business Is Like. Birds and Worms

Magazine article Management Today

Why Business Is Like. Birds and Worms

Article excerpt

'The early bird catches the worm': a proverb extolling the virtues of getting up and out there promptly in order to claim the prize. It's easy to see how it relates to business, where companies have to exploit any advantage in order to snap up customers.

But there's a problem with the saying: it doesn't mention the fortunes of the later bird. In reality, rival birds can turn up pretty much whenever they want and still get a decent feed - as long as they hit the right spot and employ the right techniques. After all, there are plenty of worms to go round.

As in nature, so in business - being first certainly doesn't guarantee success. For every triumphant early arrival such as Amazon, eBay and Coca-Cola, there's a Yahoo - or an IBM, a company that got its feathers plucked despite taking off ahead of its rivals. Pampers, Google and the iPod, meanwhile, were slower off the perch, but landed on a tastier breed of worm or hit upon a smarter way to grab them. …

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