To Infinity and Beyond!

September 07, 2020

Author: Guy Soreq

The more volatile a market, the more likely it is to be described by one-sided generalities. Either it is a “buyer’s market” or a “seller’s market”. Inherent in these terms is the idea that one side wins while the other side loses. One side is advantaged at the expense of the other side. In effect, these definitions describe markets that are a finite zero sum game. The animal feed industry, along with just about every raw materials market, oscillates between these two terms every few years.

Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last, touches on this concept in his latest book, The Infinite Game. Sinek describes a finite game as one where the players are known, the rules are fixed, and the endpoint is clear. A finite game ends when one side wins or loses. An infinite game, however, is one where players come and go, the rules are constantly changing, and there is no defined endpoint. Football and chess are finite games, while the global fight against COVID-19 is an infinite game. The latter has no winner or loser, only a way forward...or not.

Sinek argues that too many of us make the mistake of playing an infinite game with a finite mindset. This is particularly true in the world of feed additives, where market volatility furthers the perception that either the buyer wins or the seller wins, but certainly not both. This same finite mindset promotes mistrust between the different links in the supply chain, and leads industry professionals to waste countless hours trying to understand who is trustworthy and who is out to win at our expense.

In Zoom meetings with industry professionals around the world, I am often asked the same question: “Who loses with Glowlit?” Surely, someone must lose as greater transparency permeates the industry. My response time and again has been that both sides of the market win. Why? Because the industry actually represents an infinite game. We are all, ultimately, in the business of ensuring the health and longevity of these animals. Greater market transparency doesn’t create winners and losers; it decreases market volatility and allows us to play the infinite game with an infinite mindset.