Opening 4 new stations shortly, own part of own of them! Great residual returns!

  

Flagged Hotel Investment - $500k

  

Wanted active and/or passive investors

  

Invest in the Future. Security Token Offering Platform using Blockchain.

  

PRIME ITS JUST THE BEST SUGAR LESS DRINK

  

Film studio expansion

  

Canadian Real Estate Venture

  

Late Stage Applicant Cannabis Cultivation and Processing, British Columbia

  

Affordable Sea Container Homes

  

Passive Homes built at 50% of cost that sell for 20% more then any house. Done in 14 days on site

  

Real Estate - 26 Unit Development in a high demand market

  

Large grain farm in Montana - 35,000 acres

  

Innovative Google Cloud Office Furniture Catalogs for Architects & Interior Designers

  

Bison Zero to a Milllion

  

Seeking Loan - (Security - GSA on all Company’s assets)

  

The First Dedicated Esports Arena In Canada, Pending LOI

  

Buying small cap businesses (2-15m) rollup

  

Auxilia Seed Funding

  

Tire investment opportunity partnership

  

New Mobile App for Planning Events

  

Secured Bond against assets and trade receivables

  

Manufacturing Investment Opportunity

  

100k for 25% of company

  

Residential Development

  

Retired horses for veterans and first responders with PTSD

  

Real Estate - Quick Return

  

AHI Opportunities Fund - Agritech Real Estate

  

Equity Ownership with Design Build Company

  

Money Service Business Investment Opportunity

  

Seeking Canadian Partnership for US ICW NC Hunt/fish retreat with seafood distribution

  

Private Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Natural Gas

  

Shares for sale in a Goldmine Development in Arizona

  

Real Estate

  

Integrated Facility Operations & Supply model in market tested (7yr) and ready for national launch.

  

Short term real estate investment with guaranteed return

  

Langley BC Cannabis - Summer 2019 Investment Proposal

  

Own part of renewable energy Anaerobic Digester in Canada with Excellent returns

  

Mining Expansion & Acquisition Opportunity

  

Short Term Real Estate Opportunity - Over 20 Years of Experience

  

Capital required to keep up with growth demands

  

 

Canadian Investment Network


Recent Blogs


Pitching Help Desk


Testimonials

"Joined, submitted, we're moving forward. Excellent site, thanks again... "
Steve Smith - EquipmentFX

 BLOG >> Recent

Learning From Weeds: Part 1 [Entrepreneurship
Posted on September 12, 2014 @ 09:36:00 AM by Paul Meagher

In a previous video blog series on the Joys of Hand Weeding (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) I enumerated the various joys that might be experienced while hand weeding. The video blog series arose because I had a 5 day hand weeding job to do in my startup vineyard and reflecting on the process made it more physically and intellectually enjoyable.

Since then I have become fascinated with learning more about weeds - their names, their life cycles, their reproductive strategies, their uses, and so on. I find myself more interested in what is growing in a ditch than in people's carefully manicured gardens and lawns; more interested in what grows wild along the fence lines, the river banks, the edges of hay fields, lawns, and gardens.

Lately I've been trying to make some of this observation, research, and thinking relevant to the concept of entrepreneurship and that will be the point of this series of blogs on learning from weeds.

Perhaps the most popular metaphor that is used for thinking about entrepreneurship is war. Many people use The Art of War as a bible for thinking about how entrepreneurs and startups should conduct themselves in the arena of business. No doubt there are many insights that can be learned by thinking about business in terms of a war metaphor, but it should be recognized that it is a metaphor and that there might be other metaphors that can offer us different insights into how to start, grow, and sustain a business.

I am generally of the view that "nature" is also a rich source of metaphors we might use to guide our thinking about how to design a business or a product and what strategies we might use to start, grow, and sustain a business. I am not the first to realize this. Indeed, the the field of biomimicry is premised on the idea that we can apply our learning about nature to the design of new and innovate products. The Wikipedia page on Biomimetics provides a sample of some new products that have been inspired by a careful study of nature:

  • Aircraft wing design and flight techniques inspired by birds and bats
  • Climbing robots, boots and tape mimicking geckos feet and their ability for adhesive reversal
  • Nanotechnology surfaces that recreate properties of shark skin
  • Treads on tires inspired by the toe pads of tree frogs
  • Self-sharpening teeth found on many animals, copied to make better cutting tools
  • Protein folding used to control material formation for self-assembled functional nanostructures
  • The light refracting properties of butterfly wings are harnessed to provide improved digital displays and everlasting colour
  • Better ceramics by copying the properties of seashells
  • Polar bear fur inspired thermal collectors and clothing
  • Mimicking the arrangement of leaves on a plant for better solar power collection
  • Studying the light refractive properties of the moth's eye to produce less reflective solar panels
  • Self-healing materials, polymers and composite materials capable of mending cracks

In Denton Ford's book, Darwinian Agriculture (2012), he asks the innocent question "Where does nature's wisdom lie?". So if we want to use nature to learn about, or provide some new insights into, entrepreneurship then what part of nature should we be looking at? Denton argues that evolution does not optimize at the ecosystem level but rather at the species level (nature "selects" at the species level) so the lessons are more likely to be found by studying individual species rather than complete ecologies. I confess to looking for possible business insights at the ecosystem level and probably will continue to do so, but agree that nature's wisdom might be located more at the species level, the level of particular types of animals and plants, like weeds.

So as entrepreneurs wanting to use nature to learn more about starting, growing, and sustaining a business, where does nature's wisdom lie? The answer that I aim to explore is that the study of weeds might provide some insights into how to start, grow, and sustain a business. I have performed some basic searching on the topic of "startups as weeds" and came up with very few results. The main result is Tim MacDougall's blog Startups ARE like weeds. Weeds are good. Here he cites a passage from The Lean Enterprise:

Fred Wilson, founder of Union Square Ventures, says he likes to invest in startups that ‘grow like weeds.’ Why? A weed doesn’t need carefully prepared soil, regular watering, or full sunlight. It busts open its seed, sends down roots, and pushes upward without the need for a controlled environment. Likewise, ventures built according to lean startup principles don’t require the certainty of ideal conditions to thrive. They thrive in conditions of extreme uncertainty – the very conditions that bring the highest returns on investment

I encourage you to read the full blog for a few other observations about how startups are like weeds.

While I think these are some interesting observations, the blog uses a fairly superficial understanding of weeds to generate some insights into entrepreneurship. If we really want to use weeds as a starting point for where nature's wisdom lies vis a vis startups, then I think we should get into the nuts and bolts of how weeds actually work to see if there is more insight to be had by having a more sophisticated knowledge of what a weed is and how it works.

Towards that end I have done a literature search on some of the best books that examine weeds in more detail. I'll be sharing some of these references and ideas with you in the coming blogs. I'll finish this blog by citing one of the books that I'm currently reading called, appropriately enough, Weeds (2010), by Richard Mabey.

The very concept of what a weed is is deeply problematic. It is probably impossible to define what they are using a botanical or ecological definition. We might have more success if we look at a behavioral quality that they have in common:

Weeds thrive in the company of humans. They aren't parasites, because they can exist without us, but we are their natural ecological partners, the species alongside which they do best. They relish the things we do to the soil: clearing forests, digging, farming, dumping nutrient-rich rubbish. They flourish in arable fields, battlefields, parking lots, herbaceous borders. They exploit our transport systems, our cooking adventures, our obsession with packaging. Above all they use us when we stir the world up, disrupt its settled patterns. (Weeds, p. 12)

So just as Pogo famously said "We have met the enemy and he is us", we can also say "We have met the weed and he is us". The existence and concept of a weed does not exist without us. To drive this point home, here is one more delightful passage from Maybe's book:

The development of cultivation was perhaps the single most crucial event in forming our modern notions of nature. From that point on the natural world could be divided into two conceptually different camps: those organisms contained, managed and bred for the benefit of humans, and those which are 'wild', continuing to live in their own territories on, more or less, their own terms. Weeds occur when this tidy compartmentalization breaks down. The wild gatecrashes our civilized domains, and the domesticated escapes and runs riot. Weeds vividly demonstrate that natural life - the course of evolution itself - refuses to be constrained by our cultural concepts. In so doing they make us look closely at the very idea of a divided creation. (Weeds, p. 21)

So where does nature's wisdom lie for the entrepreneur? If the answer is "weeds" then the "divided creation" that is assumed in the question needs to be examined. The wisdom of weeds is a story that is as much about us as it is about nature per se. That weeds thrive in the company of humans is perhaps more reason to regard them as capable of telling us something useful about starting, growing, and sustaining a business.

Until next week, have fun observing and pondering what entrepreneurial wisdom lies in weeds around you.

Permalink 

 Archive 
 

Archive


 November 2019 [1]
 October 2019 [2]
 September 2019 [1]
 July 2019 [1]
 June 2019 [2]
 May 2019 [2]
 April 2019 [5]
 March 2019 [4]
 February 2019 [3]
 January 2019 [3]
 December 2018 [4]
 November 2018 [2]
 September 2018 [2]
 August 2018 [1]
 July 2018 [1]
 June 2018 [1]
 May 2018 [5]
 April 2018 [4]
 March 2018 [2]
 February 2018 [4]
 January 2018 [4]
 December 2017 [2]
 November 2017 [6]
 October 2017 [6]
 September 2017 [6]
 August 2017 [2]
 July 2017 [2]
 June 2017 [5]
 May 2017 [7]
 April 2017 [6]
 March 2017 [8]
 February 2017 [7]
 January 2017 [9]
 December 2016 [7]
 November 2016 [7]
 October 2016 [5]
 September 2016 [5]
 August 2016 [4]
 July 2016 [6]
 June 2016 [5]
 May 2016 [10]
 April 2016 [12]
 March 2016 [10]
 February 2016 [11]
 January 2016 [12]
 December 2015 [6]
 November 2015 [8]
 October 2015 [12]
 September 2015 [10]
 August 2015 [14]
 July 2015 [9]
 June 2015 [9]
 May 2015 [10]
 April 2015 [10]
 March 2015 [9]
 February 2015 [8]
 January 2015 [5]
 December 2014 [11]
 November 2014 [10]
 October 2014 [10]
 September 2014 [8]
 August 2014 [7]
 July 2014 [6]
 June 2014 [7]
 May 2014 [6]
 April 2014 [3]
 March 2014 [8]
 February 2014 [6]
 January 2014 [5]
 December 2013 [5]
 November 2013 [3]
 October 2013 [4]
 September 2013 [11]
 August 2013 [4]
 July 2013 [8]
 June 2013 [10]
 May 2013 [14]
 April 2013 [12]
 March 2013 [11]
 February 2013 [19]
 January 2013 [20]
 December 2012 [5]
 November 2012 [1]
 October 2012 [3]
 September 2012 [1]
 August 2012 [1]
 July 2012 [1]
 June 2012 [2]


Categories


 Agriculture [71]
 Bayesian Inference [14]
 Books [15]
 Business Models [24]
 Causal Inference [2]
 Creativity [7]
 Decision Making [15]
 Decision Trees [8]
 Design [36]
 Eco-Green [4]
 Economics [12]
 Education [10]
 Energy [0]
 Entrepreneurship [61]
 Events [2]
 Farming [20]
 Finance [25]
 Future [15]
 Growth [18]
 Investing [24]
 Lean Startup [10]
 Leisure [5]
 Lens Model [9]
 Making [1]
 Management [9]
 Motivation [3]
 Nature [22]
 Patents & Trademarks [1]
 Permaculture [34]
 Psychology [1]
 Real Estate [2]
 Robots [1]
 Selling [11]
 Site News [15]
 Startups [12]
 Statistics [3]
 Systems Thinking [3]
 Trends [7]
 Useful Links [3]
 Valuation [1]
 Venture Capital [5]
 Video [2]
 Writing [2]