Saw a Nat Geo show this weekend about Dire Wolfs and it draws great comparison in the business world. The Dire Wolf as a species is bigger, strong, faster than it’s closest relative, the Gray Wolf. They hunt better than the Gray Wolfs and can go after bigger prey like the Bisons and even Lions. The Dire Wolf co-existed with the Gray Wolf for 100,000 years but about 10,000 years ago, the Dire Wolf became extinct while the Gray Wolf lived on till today.
The Dire Wolf was a better version of the Gray Wolf. So why did the stronger spices die off while the weaker survived?
The answer comes down to, no surprise, adaptation. At the end of the last ice-age, there was dramatic climate change. Resources became scarce and so many of the giants, like the Woolly Mammoth, died off. Things were not pretty. The Dire Wolf, being used to hunting bigger prey, saw resources getting scarce and competition became more fierce. They were not able to adapt and eventually became extinct.
The Gray Wolf, on the other hand, start feeding on smaller prey. They can hunt from deers to rabbits, and even fishes. So in bad times, they survive.
If you read Mark Suster’s post about Start-ups should be Deer Hunters, you know where I am going.
As a business, we focus on hunting Deers. Those are not so big and not so small “Smart Enterprises”. As we grow, we found ourselves slowly moving up the chain and is now trying to hunt for Bisons and occasionally Elephants.
It feels good, you know? I enjoy saying, “Oh an 100-user account used to excite me. Now it take 1000+ to excite me.”
We are getting stronger and bigger and now we are hunting bigger prey. In another word, we are in danger of evolving into Dire Wolfs.
Look at this report from the Startup Compass, 70% of start-ups fail due to Premature Scaling. In other words, Companies are evolving into Dire Wolfs and cannot survive the climate change.
Things may have been fine during ice-age, or the PC era. Now that we are in the Post-PC era, the climate is shifting at a remarkable pace. A lot of species will become extinct.
Don’t go extinct. Don’t be Dire Wolfs.