Business lessons from barn swallows and crows

Written by Paper. Posted in Articles, Communication

Published on July 27, 2016 with No Comments

Animal scientists observed that when the male barn swallow is discovered to be cheating on his fine-feathered, female barn swallow mate, he engages in distraction moves so she wouldn’t notice that he’s not where he said he would be. Contemplating this state of the bird world, reminded us of friends panicked that their digital photos would soon be deleted from a photo gallery and sharing site.

The original deal was free. Now there’s word from the site owner. Buy something or be deleted. Who buys the goods if the site gives it away for free? Suddenly the line between barn swallow and human disappears. Humans love free stuff. Businesses try to pretend stuff is free when it isn’t. This complex dance distracts us from the real issues of free vs. obligation to buy.

Server space isn’t cost-prohibitive but when you’re storing gazillions of people’s photos, it adds up. If everyone who stored also made purchases, there would be an offset. Why would they call it a business if they gave everything away for free? Business is business and free is free and nowadays, especially online, it’s an increasingly difficult decision about where the two should meet.

If our friends kept a closet full of clothes at their neighbor’s house, would they be mad when asked to pay a rental fee or their stuff would be thrown out? Bad example. Our friends would be mad. The neighbor’s house is bigger. And the neighbor, being nice would offer to give the stuff back anyway.

We aren’t sure whether our friends will buy or whether they’ll find other free storage and sharing sites. We wonder whether the site should have given the storage for free while expecting our friends to buy. We live in an age when humans, on both sides, are a lot like crows. News from the animal kingdom says crows are rather crow centric and don’t care about the bigger picture. As usual, for them, there’s no business like crow business.

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