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sharkonomics

Friday 16 November, 2012

The Swedish American Chamber of Commerce hosted consultant Stefan Engeseth, who recently came out with a new book, Sharkonomics & made a presentation based on his book.  By way of introduction, when Stefan started off in the corporate world, he didn’t last long because he proposed many changes too quickly.  He was then hired as a consultant & they listened more intently to him than when he was an employee.  His experience is that corporations want to change, but not too quickly.  They want to attack like sharks, but need firewalls for their business models.  His premise is that nature works @ a higher level than strategy.  The problem with reading books & implementing what you read is that they require deep dives into research, which takes a lot of time.  When you finally see a sign that there’s a shark behind you, it’s too late to do anything about it & it eats you up.

Delving into the presentation which you can see yourself here Sharkonomics_online, he started off with a commercial featuring a shark.   A little history reveals that sharks have been evolving for 420M years, to there’s lots of flesh to bite into.  Here’s what Stefan said that’s not included in the presentation:  Engeseth thinks business evolution is stuck & that there’s more that belongs in a museum than in the marketplace.  Why make a change?  Now we’re like goldfish in an aquarium, waiting to be fished out.  Most people swim in a pool because it’s safest, & because you can’t own the ocean.  Nature’s change management is shark bait.  You can usually see the shadow of a shark before you see the shark itself.  For example, Apple’s 1st phone was simply a Motorola phone + iTunes.  Like a shark, Apple then struck unpredictably in stealth mode, & the market leader @ the time, Nokia, did not see Apple coming.  A shark’s g-spot enables them to find blind spots to bite, & then they eat their prey.  All market leaders will fall, or at least most eventually do, according to Jim Collins.  Another example is IKEA, which preys on old furniture businesses.  Nudie Foods in Australia preys on the gap between junk & organic foods.  Richard Branson advocates that the demand for innovation has never been greater.  Again, why change?  Many firms cannot afford not to change.

I posed the question of where this fits relative to Blue Ocean Strategies (BOS) & his response was sharkonomics was the opposite of BOS.  In other words, rather than seek new virgin markets where the sharks don’t swim as BOS advocates, acknowledge the real world & swim like a shark to devour your competitors where possible.

Stefan’s resident expert on shark behavior is Chris Fallows of Apex Predators.

Stefan seems to be a sharp guy & there is something to be learned from shark behavior, while BOS have their place for some firms as well.

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One comment

  1. […] …nature works @ a higher level than strategy.  The problem with reading books & implementing what you read is that they require deep dives into research, which takes a lot of time.  When you finally see a sign that there’s a shark behind you, it’s too late to do anything about it & it eats you up.Michael Muth, Intlalliances.wordpress.com […]



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