Tag Archive: jared diamond

Messing with an ecosystem is rarely good

Removing cats to protect birds backfires on island

In Jared Diamond’s book, Collapse, one of the case studies he examines is the introduction of, I believe, rabbits to Australia.  They were brought in for game hunting, and actually the first attempt failed so people tried again.  However, they soon bred out of control and now the ecosystem there is devestated. 

This is kind of the opposite – feral cats were identified as having a deleterious impact on the environment, so they got rid of them, but now some other “immigrant” species is running amok. 

I think it says a lot about how sensitive ecosystems are, especially ones that have been largely isolated for so long such as those around New Zealand and even Australia.

Lessons from “Good to Great” (part 1?)

For one of my current MBA classes (IDIS 612, with Professor Kevin Walsh, to be reviewed later, surely), I am reading the bestselling book Good to Great by Jim Collins.  This is a nice breakdown of how companies managed to become great (based on a standard of beating the overall market by a factor of 3 or more over at least 15 years) while others stayed, at best, good and at worst dissolved entirely.

I’m in a chapter about strategy right now – right in the middle of it – and the point is being made that while both good and bad companies have strategies, the ones that ended up as “great” had simple, clear ones, that accepted the sometimes brutal truth, and then pursued those strategies doggedly.

I am currently wondering whether my own strategy at work is sufficiently simple.  This is not the right venue in which to write about that, at least not now, anyway, but it’s intriguing.  It’s not just about strategy or vision – everyone has a vision.  But is that vision clear?  Is the strategy simple and easily pursued?

* – FWIW, I’m finding some interesting parallels between the case studies in this book at those in Collapse, by Jared Diamond.  Collapse is about how civilizations basically choose, at some point, whether they will continue to exist or not.  Those such as the one on Easter Island that carved those amazing statues (moai) or the Anasazi Native-American tribe that built adobe dwellings in places such as Chaco Canyon then vanished long before anyone even knew who they were (“Anasazi” stands for “vanished ones” in the language of those that followed).  Kind of strange that I’d see connections between such seemingly different books, eh?