Chapter 1. Beware the Big Blue Catfish

We will now discuss in a little more detail the Struggle for Existence.

Charles Darwin

As a business leader you enjoy connecting the dots between your own experience and new ideas. That's how you've always learned. Reading about Shockproof businesses and their successes has gotten you fired up. You begin to think about the last time you had a chance to step back from the daily grind and get a fresh perspective. It was at a conference in New York several years ago; where investment bankers and C-suite executives spoke in mostly Darwinian terms about winning and what it takes to compete. You remember an especially entertaining speaker talking about a predatory, big blue catfish that had wiped out several other species of fish with the relentless focus of a trained assassin. The same charismatic speaker referenced celebrity chef Mario Batali, who regularly quips about humans sitting atop the food chain. He'll put it this way, the speaker quipped, pointing at a PowerPoint picture of a chef inspecting a table of unsuspecting diners: If you're slower than me, dumber than me, and you taste good . . . pass the salt![1]

He also presented a video clip of the African savannah, featuring a kudu running for its life, having been cut out of the herd by a pride of lions. The speaker's style was polished and his delivery was engaging, but it was the wide array of stories and examples related to his claims about the natural world that most captured your attention. ...

Get Shockproof: How to Hardwire Your Business for Lasting Success now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.