I bike to work when the weather is decent. It’s only 5km but the route is pretty hilly so I get some real exercise on the way.
Today when I was on the last incline before reaching the office – I saw what appeared to be a beetle crossing the road.
In any case I swerved to miss him since President Obama recently showed us that to get the full effect of killing annoying bugs you need to be filmed…
Then I started thinking how if I had run him over I might have effected the whole population of his species in the area. Maybe this bug was destined to mother of millions… True – if this one was dumb enough to cross the road while thousands of her comrades were in the grassy fields – she probably wasn’t the most brilliant of the bunch, but there is a vulnerability when a single event can knock you out completely. Nassim Taleb call’s these unexpected devastating events “Black Swans”. I highly recommend his books on Randomness.
Of course with bugs they have it all worked out – they presumably diversify their activities and locations enough so that one event wont knock out their population completely.
Recently my cell phone website http://www.younevercall.com was penalized by Google, probably for overly aggressive linking and what we now know was a concerted effort to get the site penalized by a much wealthier competing website. (They actually reported their efforts on Twitter – but that has since been removed…)
YouNeverCall was run over by a Google penalty and appears to be in intensive care – possibly to awaken in a few weeks.
Much like the beetle, our company is set up so that that single event does not end our company – though it does have a big effect.
To learn from the beetle would mean:
- Stopping to rely on lower quality links and sites to aid in SEO
- Expect the unexpected – be prepared for the penalty before it comes
- Make logical rather than emotional decisions of what to do when crisis strikes.
I think the last one may be the most important one. At each juncture it makes sense to look at the resources: people, websites, available tactics, etc. and make intelligent decisions about where to go next.
This is the third time that YouNeverCall has suffered a penalty over the past 6 years and each time the website and the business as a whole has come out stronger.
I don’t think that can be said for the beetle.