Escaping the Long Tail – an infectious disease example

Imagine the plight of the poor bacterium. It want’s to be a big player, but it’s just one of a huge number of bacterium and it’s tough climbing up the rankings. First off it needs to get past that huge barrier to entry, the stomach. Very occationally it manages that. But now it discovers that the ecology it’s entered, the intestine, is crowded with vast numbers of natives. These guys aren’t very welcoming. Worst yet they are well adapted to local market conditions. Early adopters I suspect. What to do?

Evolution of Infectious DiseaseCholera’s solution to this problem is to: appeal to the Government, manipulate the platform vendor, trick the host body. It delivers a swift kick to the digestive track wall, via a toxin, and the host body flushes the entire digestive track. This empties out the ecology of all those pesky competitors. The end result is that Cholera’s ranking isn’t so far down the tail anymore.

I wonder if there is an example of this pattern in business. The direct analogy would require a platform vendor who regularly deals with bad actors by flushing out the entire ecology. Sort of like the police clearing out a marketplace when ever fights start breaking out among some of the market participants. Democratic governments with regular elections might be an example. A varient of the classic problem of regulatory capture. Which then reminds me of the phrase “A new broom sweeps clean.”

In point of fact Cholera’s not particularly interested in capturing the host’s regulatory system. The goal is actually to achieve the maxiumum reproduction and then to spread successfully thru it’s distribution vector; i.e. the water supply.

Some of the management cult memes exhibit that pattern. They aren’t particularly focused on enhancing the operations of the firm but instead infect the minds of the employees who then leave carrying the memes to other firms. Their success is then enhanced by triggering the exodus of existing employees.

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