Gypsy Moths, Complexity, and Simplicity

 

Walking through the East Woods on a clear morning today, I noticed the constant sound of a fine rain hitting the leaves – the telltale noise of the droppings of larval gypsy moths and their impending infestation. Most experts are predicting a large outbreak this year with severe defoliation of many native trees and forests – much more than last year’s 100,000 acres across the state.

I’m not looking forward to this, but other experts are saying that the recent spate ...

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Diesel Frogs and Market Timing

 

Working in the yard last weekend, I was disturbed by the foreign sound of a diesel engine idling somewhere out in the woods. I checked this out only to be relieved that it was merely the local wood frogs having their annual love fest in the vernal pools. Seems they have the uncanny ability to sense when the timing is just right such that they all migrate to these very large puddles and start their ‘quacking’, which in unison Continue Reading →

The Pileated Approach

 

The other day I watched a magnificent pileated woodpecker make his way from tree to tree in search of the perfect morsel of ants, larvae, or random wood bugs. It reminded me of how some companies search for the ideal targets for their new products, services, or partnerships. This approach of lightly probing a segment to determine if it holds sufficient monetary nutrition is a good way to grow your business without going too far astray.

Additionally when the pileated finds ...

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Maple Syrup Wisdom

 

After staring into a pot of boiling sap for eight hours, I finally poured off a pint of rich amber maple syrup. The flavor is incredibly intense but slightly different from other maple syrup I’ve had – probably because I used red maple trees instead of the traditional sugar maples. Anyway the yield was pretty good (6 gallons of sap to 1 pint of syrup) and the color is fantastic. It does take a good deal of effort though, and ...

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Ptyxis and Planning

 

Walking by a black birch tree the other day, I noticed that the tips of the branches all held long, prominent, pointed buds that seemed ready to burst into a spring flush of leaves. These plump buds are compact little packages whose embryonic leaves are folded in an intricate “ptyxis” and packed tightly together, awaiting their call to arms in 5 months’ time. Somehow these trees have the ability to prepare for next season to insure that they have a ...

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New Puppy and Focus (or not)

 

My new puppy is intrigued by every leaf, acorn, pile of moss, and stump in the East Woods. Any attempt at walking a straight line is thrown off by spontaneous lunges toward new, apparently life-altering odors and smells. This constant deviation from a (hoped for) simple walk along a path reminds me of some of the companies I spoke with at this week’s Eastern Analytical Symposium. Though seemingly well-intentioned in their path, they nevertheless seem to sometimes chase opportunities without ...

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Lightning Rods and Risks

 

A lightning bolt hit the big pine nearby the other day, rattling the surroundings and sending fifty pound splinters flying. I have a new appreciation for the power in those flashes, and am now looking at installing lightning rods to keep my house intact. This reactionary approach is similar to how businesses often deal with rapid changes in their environments.

When one of these big challenges suddenly appear, businesses scramble to handle the them. Here are a few rather unpleasant surprises ...

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