Survival of the pro-fit-test

Biological evolution is a complex process with simple underyling truths. Perhaps the most profound of those evolutionary truths is that evolution works AWAY from failure rather than towards success.

Thus you don’t have ‘pinnacles’ of evolutionary success represented by super great creatures , rather you have change branching out in many directions, with success best defined in terms of how well a creature manages to adapt to an environmental niche. For every successful creature there are many who died, failing to adapt successfully to the conditions of a niche, or failing to adapt *as well* as a competing creature who then scarfed up the niche’s available resources leaving the less well adapted ones out to dry, and often to die.

What if we apply this notion of succcess and adaptation to the rapidly evolving Web 2.0 business community? In that realm of business innovation millions of ideas become thousands of “good” ideas and then hundreds of ‘great ideas’ that do a great job of exploiting circumstances.

In this business evolution “survival of fittest” becomes survival of the the profit-est, though it may still be too early to define “success” in terms of profits since many highly innovative companies have not shown anybody the money, rather it’s assumed that their huge traffic and community support will eventually yield high profits. (A risky but reasonable assumption).

More importantly if evolutionary principles are applicable to business processes it means that we’ll see a LOT more failures than successes, and we may have trouble predicting the winners until the game is over and they’ve already won.

Rather than a product of elaborate, complex planning and innovative think tank thinking we may see that success crops up in unusual and unpredictable spaces where it is not careful plans and execution that work, rather trial and error and failure and adaptation that rule the day and lead to the survival of the profit-est companies.

1 thought on “Survival of the pro-fit-test

  1. Pingback: The rumors of PodTech’s death may not be greatly exaggerated? « Joe Duck

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