One of the most misunderstood quotes has to be ‘survival of the fittest’.
Biologically speaking, people assume it means that only the strongest survive. But for us humans, ‘strong’ and ‘survival’ cover a plethora of aspects. From healthy and fit, to powerful and rich. What it should mean is ‘those most adaptable to change’.
Blackberry was obviously the ‘fittest’ mobile company at the height of their success. As was Nokia. But their strengths didn’t include being agile and versatile – hence their downfall.
The lesson here is that being nimble and more adaptable to change can be a huge advantage over an adversary who is big and powerful. Being able to pivot, act fast and comfortable in new circumstances are typical qualities you find in startups. But you won’t often see these traits in traditional companies that have been around for ages.
Which means startups and small businesses should be watched very careful. They might not be rich, influential or big, but they are worthy opponents who will beat a bigger company with adaptability instead of raw strength.