字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント 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!