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  • In the local shop, next to major beer brands, you might find microbrews with crazy names

  • like Wild Skunk Ale, Fiddlehead Fuel, or Mudsucker Stout, although I just made those up. While

  • the big-brands run TV ads starring sexy skiers or tough guys with trucks, their small competitors

  • have to scrabble for attention from the store shelf. That's because, much like a small shrub

  • or fern beneath the tall trees in a forest, microbreweries live in the shadows of their

  • larger corporate competitors.

  • And, surprisingly, many species and businesses that eke out a living in the shadows of giants

  • employ similar strategies to succeed in their respective dog-eat-dog worlds of intense competition

  • for limited resources.

  • The winners of this competition in the forest or beer business, as defined by sheer volume,

  • are those that capture the most resources - sunlight in one case and consumers' dollars

  • in the other. The mechanics differ - big trees capture sunlight by being tall and wide, while

  • large brewers earn billions of dollars of profits by having a broad reach, attracting

  • customers with low prices, mild flavor, and large advertising budgets.

  • The outcome is the same, though - by capturing the most valuable resources before they reach

  • others, dominant trees and companies exclude weaker competitors who employ the same tactics.

  • But there are trade-offs to any strategy, and being the best on average rarely works

  • in all cases and conditions.

  • That's how understory ferns and microbreweries can succeed - by specializing in conditions

  • the "big guys" are not so good at: the so-called empty niches.

  • In deep shade, a fern can make a healthy, if modest, living by avoiding direct competition

  • and investing prudently in just enough photosynthetic machinery, to make a profit from the faint

  • sunlight reaching the forest floor-- leftover light not worth the extra effort for the big

  • trees to capture up above. Ferns can even thrive on a photosynthetic income that's inadequate

  • for the small offspring of many tall trees, and thus the humble fern coexists with the

  • tall timber above by competing on its own terms.

  • Similarly, microbrews, which invest in being odd, trendy, and strongly flavored, can persevere

  • by attracting aficionados not swayed by the marketing and lower prices of larger breweries.

  • Sure, fewer people fall into this category, just as fewer beams of sunlight fall through

  • the canopy onto the forest floor, but where there are resources, there's potential to

  • survive.

  • And survival is the goal of both ferns and firms, so it's not really that surprising

  • that both nature and the economy, driven by the same kinds of competition, give rise to

  • niches and diversification, to canopy and understory in the forest, and in the supermarket

  • aisle!

In the local shop, next to major beer brands, you might find microbrews with crazy names


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B2 中上級

ビールと生物多様性 (Beer & Biodiversity)

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    ChironLi に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日