Business Ecosystems & Symbiosis

It has been quite some time since I last blogged. Of course I can blame Al Qaeda for that or better still write about stuff that is really useful for the reader! Now now, I don’t say that one should never blame Al Qaeda 😉

The title of the blog says a lot on what I am going to write about today. It is all about business baby. A good successful business always generates money (otherwise it is termed as charity, I will touch that topic in some other post). After working for around 8+ years with technology companies, I am pretty sure that one doesn’t need to be a geek to have a successful business. One can be a successful packing box provider if they adhere to the basic values of doing business. Business as we all know is a symbiotic relationship between various entities that creates and maintains an ecosystem. The thriving, survival and prosperity of the ecosystem is pretty much characterized by the level of trust, maturity, quality, reliability and expectation fulfillment on part of the producer entities with respect to consumer entities. Beware that I am including the consumer entities as active and highly volatile members of an ecosystem.

Most businesses today do consider consumers as a part of their ecosystem. Some of them even try to lock-in these entities in order to stabilize and reduce the uncertainty levels as well as maintain a steady non-variable flow of income within the ecosystem. If I am to draw a simple visual picture of the entities and flow of income, it would be something like below.


It looks like a star and that is what it takes to have a thriving ecosystem. The connecting lines all show symbiotic relationship between all the entities. Cash flow and requirements fulfillment also go hand in hand. In some cases, the relationship with consumers becomes a bit more parasitic. That kind of a change is of course detrimental to the overall ecosystem as such. Similar are the relationship with Partners and Suppliers for the producers and investors. Logistics, material handling, requirements management, deliveries, pricing, competition, research, technology, enhancements/improvements, packaging, lifeline timeframes, etc. are also a part of all this. I haven’t shown competition as a dire part of the ecosystem since it is an external entity that has a definite impact on the ecosystem balance.

Consumers more or less are considered a weak/volatile part of the ecosystem. Or as some businesses sees it, as an entity which can be squeezed to get the money juice. Such a business foresight is not only unethical but can be devastating in the long run. All these entities except the Producers can be a part of many different ecosystems producing an ecosystem mesh. Such ecosystems will have a balancing effect on each other most of the times. And an ecosystem mesh is a healthy fabric which is not the case with monopolistic ecosystems. Many a times, partners and suppliers would be seen as competition by the producers due to their short sightedness and/or limited understanding of the ecosystem mesh. Such a perception might ultimately be harmful for its own market/ecosystem and its entities.

The post is getting longer but I hope everybody is getting the point that I am trying to make. I have not seen many businesses willing to understand the mesh. They just want to earn money, make their investors happy, keep their customers, partners and suppliers to themselves and in the long run take control over everything (possibly except their products). But that kind of a strategy definitely leads to parasitic behavioral tendencies within the ecosystem leading either to annihilation of other ecosystems (leading to a monopolistic system) or self-consummation of the current ecosystem.  Both the cases are not healthy for any businesses.

That’s all for now folks!