Evolving from Meerkats to Snapper Fish

June 08, 2020

Author: Guy Soreq

“Jeez, it's a lion! Run, Pumbaa! Move it!”—
Timon the Meerkat, The Lion King

It’s a hot day in the Karoo Desert in South Africa. A lone meerkat is standing guard while the rest of the group forages for insects and lizards on the ground. Hawks and eagles circle the group from above. The guardian meerkat stands watch, and the group offers a piece of the day’s catch in return.

You’ve probably surmised at this point that we’re not really here to talk about meerkats. Rather, how this same sentinel behavior can be seen in the industrial world where companies have entrusted market research firms to act as a lookout against rapid changes in price. This symbiotic relationship has allowed the manufacturing and market research industries to grow side by side. But while the meerkat method may be successful for a small group of companies in one location interested in the same few products, it fails due to sheer scale on a global level.

On the other side of the world, a larger group of animals figured out another way to solve this problem. In the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, a school of snapper fish meet a lone barracuda out for prey. The hungry predator attempts to pick off one fish, but as it gets close the group suddenly moves away as one, causing the barracuda to lose its focus and, with that, its meal.

Rather than relying on a single watchman, these snapper fish are able to move in almost perfect unison because of their ability to signal their movement instantly using tiny hair like receptors. This method of communication allows for rapid information sharing from one member of the group to the whole. In this type of network, every fish is a watchman and so the group is guarded from all sides.

If you’ve been reading our writing, well then you probably already know where I’m going with this. Glowlit is built on the model of the snapper fish, not the meerkat. Facilitating rapid information sharing across the industry allows us to move as one in order to avoid threats. At Glowlit, we believe it's time to evolve to a new form of market intelligence.

Photo by Kris Mikael Krister on Unsplash