Daily Podcast: Read My Lips: No New Niches

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
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daily podcast read my lips no new niches

In today's most excellent editorial, Michael Karesh highlighted Toyota and GM's relative approaches re: creating and selling new automotive technology. Karesh didn't delve into the cultural differences between the two automakers. For insight into ToMoCo's slow and steady vs. GM's ADD, I offer this quote from Jeffrey Kluger's Simplexity: "Exploitative organisms are creatures with fixed niches and well-established survival strategies. An exploitative organism is unlikely to try something evolutionarily new, preferring instead to stick with what it knows and exploit its environment for familiar resources. This is good for the individual or the next few generations, since playing it safe prevents you from making adaptive mistakes. But it can be bad for the species, which may be slow to adjust to a rapid change in circumstances…. Explorative organisms tend to seek new niches, mutate fast, explore new survival strategies when the opportunities present themselves. This can be costly in the short run, since any evolutionary innovation has a chance of failing, but over the long run it keeps the species flexible." As mainstream manufacturers, both Toyota and GM are intrinsically exploitative organisms. But GM acts like an explorative. And therein lies its weakness. In case you were wondering. In any case, today's news…

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Serpico Serpico on Jun 17, 2008

    Yes, got to the Escalade part and bam! It died. :)

  • Theodore Theodore on Jun 17, 2008

    I played it here with no problem.

  • Ingvar Ingvar on Jun 17, 2008

    Am I stupid, or have you misunderstood what is actually said? Isn't the real conclusion the opposite of what's stated? As I understand, it is GM that is exploitative, and Toyota that is explorative.

  • DearS DearS on Jun 18, 2008

    Awesome quote about animals, it means so much I think. I agree GM explores, also exploits ie. abuses its opportunities. I guess they feel some euphoria when an exploration succeeds. Although such adventures often prove challenging to advance (were they ever trying). I also agree Toyota does not seem to explore enough (Camry/Corrola), and they seem to exploit (why no sports cars, are they bad?). The goal is progress and balance. One cannot control what life throws at you. Its out of balance to explore to much (Aztek + SSR + low mpg + crappy interiors over and over.) Just cause someone does something many times does not mean its not exploration. To explore means to move and to look were you're going. Doing something without observing the results and looking for an opportunity to further oneself in ones true best interest is what leads to exploitation in my opinion. If Toyota's best interests do not include the well being of its consumers then its exploitation. Exploitation is not good or bad imo. Its important for when one is learning to be flexible. The question is are you volunteering to let yourself be exploited ie. in need of learning flexibility.