Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reproductive Value for Breeders

In ecology, there is a measure called the reproductive value of an organism. This measure is for quantifying the potential of an individual organism to affect the population through reproducing offspring throughout its lifetime. The reproductive value of an organism depends on its fertility as well as on its longevity which consequently relies on its ability to survive.

It would be interesting to use the measure of reproductive value of individual organisms when breeding horses, dogs or cattle. This would help the breeder to estimate the reproductive value of each of his animals.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Living in Harmony with Place and Time


Every place on earth has its own types of organisms that live in it. The community of organisms differs from one place to the other. The community of organisms living at some place is affected by the place and its properties. This has also been true for humans. People living in various places on earth differ from one another in color, physical features and even behavior and thoughts. One is affected by the environment he or she lives in.

Unfortunately, the modern industrial age has attempted to 'normalize' all locations and treat all places as if they were the same. One design or one solution that was successful in one place is applied without a lot of thought at other locations despite their being different from the first place where the solution of design was successful. Becoming blind to the unique spirit of each place made us loose a lot of the natural blessings of diversity.


As with place, time also has its unique varying characteristics. We have seasons, the natural world functions according to seasons and change is the normal aspect of nature. Not only do seasons of the year affect plant growth, bird migration and other natural aspects, but also phases of the moon and movement of other planetary bodies have their effects on the natural world on earth and create variations over time.

Unfortunately, the modern industrial age has been treating all time more or less the same. We go to work from 9 to 5 every day regardless of the season or the natural rhythm. Other than just having different clothing, we change nothing in our work system. Time is treated all the same, which is contrary to the laws of nature.

To Harmony

We find ourselves suffering from frustration, depression, pressure and sadness in our modern day systematized life without knowing why. The reasons is simple: we have went astray, we have driven so farm from the laws of nature, we become out of sync with nature and the natural laws. Attempting to regain the balance and become more in harmony with nature and its laws is the only way back for us to regain our peace and serenity.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Small Business Stronger than a Large Business?

The larger the organism the less it is venerable to falling as prey. The larger the size of an organism the stronger it is and the better it is able to defend itself. However, the larger the organism the more resources it needs in order to survive. This aspect makes it more dependent on the available resources and thus more vulnerable from this side. Also predators in general tend to select the larger size of prey, thus making larger sized prey more sought after and thus more vulnerable to falling as prey.

In the world of business, similar general laws apply. Although the larger a business is the more presumably powerful it can be yet at the same time a large business requires much more resources to survive and becomes a target to many more attackers. In the business world, as int he animal world, it is not just about how big you are, nor how small you are, but it is more about being of the right size, the size that makes you the most fit within the ecosystem you are working in and the niche you having.

It all boils down to righsizing. A business that has grown beyond its most optimum size or that is facing lack of resources normally downsizes. Another business may at times try to expand and grow in size to become more fit. The two directions are present in the business world in order for a business to reach its most optimum size that makes it most fit. Businesses that would go in the wrong direction would experience weakness and become less fit as they become too small or too large compared to their optimum size.

Habitats in Paradise

The kind of habitat determines what sort of organisms would live and flourish in it. Some distant secluded islands may show varieties of organisms that are not found elsewhere and are quite different from what we are used to see. Organisms living and flourishing in a particular habitat tend to be well adapted to such habitat and live in harmony with it.

Now let's imagine what sort of 'habitat' or different habitats would be present in paradise? For sure it would be quite different from the ones we have here on earth. Consequently, the types of organisms living there would be equally wondrous.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Modeling Age Structures for Market Research

Newly established cities in Cairo, such as New Cairo, tend to attract the newly married and young families. This contrasts with older areas in Cairo that tend to have a much higher percentage of older generations living in them. As a result, schools for children tend to flourish in areas such as New Cairo due to the presence of a high percentage of young families that tend to have children who would naturally need to go to school.

Using principles and methods from ecology the model age structures can help a business study the various age structures in different geographical areas of a city or country. Such studies can also help project future estimates of age structures. Such information can be highly valuable when doing market research.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Spiritual Causes of Infestations

Imbalances in natural ecosystems can be caused by human behavior and human beliefs. If there is an imbalance in human behavior based on a generally flawed set of beliefs, this can cause an imbalance in nature consequently affecting the balance in the natural ecosystem and causing it to 'fight' back.

Let's say in some society people do all sorts of bad behavior and are not balanced by other people doing good in that same society then this leads to an imbalance in nature and the natural ecosystem. Consequently, this may lead to infestations and natural disasters. Science has yet to test this and see how statistically sound this hypothesis can be.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Real Reason Behind 18+ Marriage Law

The longer the average age of humans the longer is the age of each generation. The younger the age of marriage the more overlapping that takes place between generations. A child may normally see his grandparents in some communities while in others it is common for a child to see his great grandparents and still in others to see his great great grandparents! When life is longer and age of marriage is less, more generations tend to overlap.

As more generations overlap, populations tend to increase rapidly. Restricting age of marriage to be 18+ tends to cap this a bit. Enforcing such rule on developing countries too assists in restricting their high population growth rate.

Scientifically speaking, some people do not mature physically and/or emotionally even after they are 18 years old while others mature both physically and emotionally way before they are 18 years old. The arbitrary marriage age of 18 years, even if taken as an average of maturity, is just an easy way for law makers to have a one-size-fits-all law that can be easily enforced notwithstanding its inaccuracy and nonconformity to the sciences of biology and psychology.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Companies Propagating as Plants

Some plants propagate by extending their roots laterally then shooting up stems. The plant actually grows using such method and the growing number of stems are actually interconnected at the ground level through an extensive system of interconnected roots. At first, the budding shoot is dependent on the parent plant for nutrition and support. As the shoot grows, it can becomes less dependent on the parent plant and can survive on its own even if the connection to its parent plant was severed through the roots.

Similarly, in the business world, a company may grow by setting off new ventures in different sectors. The new spin-offs may be dependent at first on the parent company but then grow less dependent with time. They might ultimately reach a point where they are completely independent of the parent company and can survive on their own.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Viewing Companies as a Species

It is common that banks would provide credit for companies that are over 2 years old. This screening rule that banks use to filter out budding companies helps banks avoid a lot of bad credit. The reasoning is that statistically it has been show that a large percentage of companies close within the first 2 years of their inception.

It would be interesting to go even deeper with statistics about companies in the same fashion that ecologists use life tables to gather and analyse data about the life and death of organisms. By doing so, one could gain much more insights and be able to understand the business world and the business landscape on a deeper level. Different types of companies can thus be treated as different types of species and a lot can be learned.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Working with Imperfect Data in the Business World

In science, data does not have to be perfect all the time. We can get data that is incomplete or that has 'noise' in it, yet still manage to work with such data, analyze it, enhance it and come up with new insights based on such less-than-perfect data. Of course there is a limit to such imperfection, data that is totally inaccurate would not lead us anywhere. Yet if the the data collected is in its majority of good quality it can be usable even if it is less than perfect.

The same applies in the business world. It is usually impossible to get all the data needed to reach a perfect decision making process. In business, we try to collect the best data we can, but have to make decisions based in data that is often less than perfect. The better the quality, accuracy and comprehensiveness the data the better support it would give to a great decision making process. Yet lack of such high quality or perfect data should not deter us from using it for business decision making.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Data Visualization and Strategic Planning

In science in general, it is common practice to collect large amounts of data. When such data is collected along a good deal of time, it can then be analyzed. It is interesting how converting such data into graphs by plotting them on 2-dimensional planes or even 3-dimensional graphs can help visualize them and therefore making analysis easier. Such visualization can assist in classifying and comping up with categories and conclusions.

This system is not only good for science, it can be a powerful tool for business as well. Data collection and visualization can aid in gaining business insights and therefore in business decision making and strategic planning.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Treat your Teenager Daughter as an Annual Plant

For humans and many animals, several generations can live together concurrently. This happens because offspring start maturing before their parents die. This allows different generations to interact with one another. In humans, this allows the exchange of experience and ultimately to the building of civilizations when such learned experience is transferred from one generation to the other and added to.

For some plants, however, the new generation starts sprouting after their parents have died. They are always 'orphans'. This necessitates that they have the ability to depend fully on themselves and not need the help of their parents.

When bringing up your children, it is essential to realize that they need your care and attention, this is how humans are created. Yet it is equally important to realize that at some point in time it is useful to allow your children to grow out of such dependence and depend on themselves. Perhaps studying, learning about and observing annual plants can provide you with many clues on how to best do just that.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Business Seed Banks

Plant Seed Banks

Some seeds sprout as soon as they fall from their mother plant. Other seeds might stay dormant and and sprout only on the following year. Still other seeds may keep dormant for many years till they 'decide' to sprout. Such seeds form seed banks inside the soil.

Business Seed Banks

Similarly, in the business world some ideas start sprouting as soon as they come to mind. The person who gets the idea can start right away working on it. Other business ideas may stay dormant in the mind for many years till the right time for them to 'sprout' comes. It is totally OK and natural that you keep some ideas brewing in your mind for some period of time that might reach even years before deciding to let it out and actually act upon it. Make sure, however, that you do not keep all your ideas heavily guarded in a seed bank forever without allowing any of them to see the light!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Survivorship Curves for Businesses

Survival Curves in Organisms

Ecologists classify survivorship curves for organisms into three types. The first type is where organisms have high survival rates from the start of their lives and throughout their lives then such survival rates tend to drop abruptly by the end of their lifespan. The second type is organisms that tend to have more or less constant survival rates and tend to die with a constant rate from the beginning till the end of their lifespan. The third category is organisms that have very low survival rates at the beginning of their lives then those that actually survive enjoy high survival rates throughout their lifespans.

Examples of organisms belonging to the third category are fish that produce huge numbers of eggs, a small percentage of which survive. Some organisms also show different survivorship curves depending on their density. If their are in very high density they show type 3 curves where they have low survival rates at the beginning of their lifespans, same as with fish. If they are in low densities then they show type 1 curves where they enjoy high survial rates from the beginning of their lifespans.

Survival Rates in Businesses

It would be interesting to apply similar sets of survivorship curves to businesses. Businesses that 'grow' in high densities of other competing businesses tend to have low survival rates at the beginning of their lives. Once they establish themselves after the initial dangerous period, they tend to enjoy high survival rates.

Businesses that grow in low densities of other competing businesses tend to enjoy high survival rates right from the start of their lifespans and continue to enjoy such high survival rates throughout their lifespan.

Another way to get inspiration from survivorship curves of organisms is to apply them to an individual person who is attempting to start many businesses. A person might have a great number of business ideas (seeds) and attempt to 'sow' such ideas and start new businesses. Such high rate of ideas or startups might witness a high rate of mortality at the beginning of their lifespans. Those ideas that survive may then enjoy high survival rates throughout their lifespans.

In contrast, a different approach might be followed by another business person. He or she might carefully tend for only a few (one or two) business ideas through carefully planning and continued support. Such ideas, which would turn into businesses, may enjoy high survival rates from the onset of their lifespans.

Let the Seeds Die

It is quite natural that not all seeds would germinate and grow and become adults plants that reach the stage of bearing fruit and providing offspring. In conventional agriculture, we try to save every seed we sow, yet this is not how nature works. It would be interesting to aim at practicing natural agriculture where seeds can be sown while we are totally OK with the idea that many of them will be dying with time, either consumed by a bird, rotted by microorganisms or 'lost' in any other way to nature. Such seeds are not actually lost, but they cycle again into the system, it's just that their 'energy' returns back to us in a different form.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Comparing Survival Rates of Humans to Mammals

It is interesting how in ecology we can standardize tables survival or mortality in a way so as to compare those tables for various species. It is then possible to compare for instance the survival rates of different types of trees or plants or even compare survival tables of humans to those of other mammals.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Reproductive Rates, Interesting and Useful

It is interesting how fecundity schedules can provide us with clues into how a species would increase in number by studying its reproductive and survival rates. One common application for fecundity is to calculate the fertility of humans in a given population. Other interesting applications are in the world of plants, animals and other organisms. It would be interesting and useful to use such knowledge in natural agriculture. This could help us spread plants using natural methods.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Life Tables

Life tables are commonly used for animals and plants. It is interesting to use life tables for humans too. It provides interesting stats for a given population. It would be nice to compare different peoples living in different regions of a country and see how their life tables differ. That would be quite an interesting analysis. Plotting the tables in graph form would make it easier to visualize and come up with insights.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

How Long Does a Plant Live?

There are plants that live for one year only, or less, then die. Those are the annual plants. Tomatoes is one example of annual plants. There are plants that live for several years, those are called perennial plants. Trees are examples of perennial plants, for example fruit trees like apple and mango trees. There also exists a type of plants that grow for two years then die. They develop on two stages, during the first year they start growing then on the second year they give flowers and fruit. Plants belonging to this category are called biennial plants. Examples of biennial plants are onion and carrot.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ecology Bringing Abundance

Rather than practicing farming and agriculture, it would be interesting to use the science of ecology to increase the abundance of needed plants and animals in an ecosystem for the prosperity of humans.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Software that Predicts Plant Growth?

It would be nice to come up with predictive systems that can provides estimates of the number of modules (leaves, branches, flowers and so on) of a plant that would be growing provided a set of conditions such as resources of water, nutrients and conditions of solar radiation and temperature. Such models may be statistical. One can use machine learning such as neural networks or artificial intelligence to build such models. That would be an interesting project to pursue. Probably there are already such systems existing, it would be still interesting to pursue this more and expand on them.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

When Spin-offs Compete with their Parent Companies

A budding plant would benefit from being attached to its parent plant at the beginning. This connection helps it 'nurse' on resources from the parent plant. As the young plant starts to grow, competition for resources make take place between the young plant and its parent till it reaches a point where it overwinters the benefits the new plant gets from being attached to the main parent plant.

This phenomenon may similarly happen in businesses. When a spin-off from a large corporation is still small, it benefits from being close the the parent company and relies on its network and resources. Later on and as the spin-off grows, its connection with its larger parent corporation provides it with less benefit compared to the competition for resources (clients) it may now start to experience.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Do Larger Businesses Enjoy Longer Lives?

In nature there seems to be a relationship between the size of an organism and how long it lives. The smaller the size of an organism the shorter its life span. The larger the organism the longer is its life span. Microorganisms tend to have very short lives, followed by insects then by small animals followed by medium sized animals then finally large sized animals tend to live for long. Of course this is not a definitive rule, for turtles, which are surely way smaller than elephants, can live way longer than elephants can. Nevertheless, this rule of thumb holds in general for a wide variety of species.

Is it possible that there exists a similar rule for nations and businesses? Would it be appropriate to say that the larger the size of a nation or the larger the size of a business the longer it survives in contrast to other nations or businesses? It would be interesting to explore such a concept and see to how extend it would hold in the nations and business worlds.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Small Farm Beating Large Farm?

It is not how many trees you have in your garden or farm, but it is also how many branches those trees have, how many flowers do they make and how many fruits they produce. A farm may have a large area yet poorly producing trees. A much smaller farm yet with more sturdy trees that have vigorous root systems and plenty of resources available for them and appropriate conditions may provide a much more abundant produce than the larger farm.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Grow your Business Like a Plant


There are organisms that grow in size but do not change in their form or structure. For instance, humans are born with a specific number of fingers, hands and legs. This form remains the same as a human develops. The size of the parts can grown but the form stays the same.


There exists other types of organisms that change in form as they grow. Plants first form a seedling which grown roots then leaves. A stem develops then later flowers, which fall, then after that comes the fruits which are also separated from the plant. The number of leaves in a plant keeps increasing as it grows. Unlike in humans, where the number of fingers stays the same but just can increase in size.


These two different modes of growth in unitary (like humans) and modular (like plants) organisms can inspire us to think about how a business can also grow. A business may grow by keeping its form yet growing the size of each of its existing parts. A store, for instance, may expand by renting more space and becoming physically bigger. Businesses may also expand by adding more 'modules' to themselves. A retail business may expand by adding new branches in the same way a tree expands by adding more branches and leaves. A company may grown by diversifying its offerings and adding more products that it produces or sells.

It is quite interesting to see how the world of plants and animals can inspire ways of looking at businesses.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Can Two People Become One?

The question of "what's an individual" is very interesting. I often thought of the concept of an individual organism as being something unquestionable. Yet it is interesting to think and ponder about this question. It even brings us to philosophical and spiritual questions such as does a man and wife blend together and become at some point in time a single individual? Do twins or very close friends at some point in time become one? Is the concept of separateness of individuals something that can be changed if just for a temporary period of time? This concept can be even extended to religion and religious beliefs and oneness and separateness. Such concepts though might be a bit too touchy to discuss in a blog like this, so I'll do with planting this seed of thought in your mind and leave you to explore it on your own.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Call for Studying Urban Ecology in Cairo

Here is an interesting ecological formula:
N(now) = N(then) + B - D + I - E
This formulate indicates that the number of organisms, denoted by N(now), of a particular species occupying a specific area is equal to the number of such organisms present in the past, denoted by N(then), plus the number of births, B, between then and now, minus the number of deaths, D, plus the number of immigrants, I, minus the number of emigrants, E.

In the streets of Cairo, Egypt, we see cats and dogs even weasels, we also find crows, doves, home sparrows and sometimes hoopoes, bulbuls and other kinds of birds. It would be interesting to study the life of such organisms as part of the urban ecology. This would help us then devise methods by which to control and limit the dispersal of specific undesired species, such as dogs in the streets or crows , while encouraging the spread of others such as bulbuls and hoopoes.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Business Food Chains

Competition Over Resources

Competition soars as resources become limited. If you want to spur competition, reduce the resources available. If you want to make competition disappear, flood them with resources. This concept works with your children at home, with your employees at the office and with citizens in a nation.

Business Food Chains

The food chain in living organisms can inspire the concept of value chain in an economy. Minute organisms feed on micro-nutrients, higher organisms feed on those microorganisms then even higher living organisms feed on them and so on in a long food chain. Similarly, in the business world, large corporations depend on smaller ones and the smaller ones depend on yet smaller ones till the bottom of the business 'food' chain. It would be interesting to study the food chain in living organisms more closely and come up with insights to better understand the dynamics of business ecosystems, how they work and how to best leverage them.

Business Roots

A plant would develop a variety of root types as the roots penetrate varying layers of soil as it goes deeper down the soil and also laterally on the sides. Similarly, a business can develop a number of revenue making models depending on the market in which it offers its products and services.

Coevolution of Political Parties

The concept of coevolution is very interesting. An organism might evolve in such a way so as to protect itself from its predator while in turn its predator evolves in such a way so as to be able to hunt it down. Both keep coevolving in a continuous path. This concept can be applied to opposing political parties which may coevolve to differentiate from one another.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Types of Thieves

Intangible Plant Needs

What if plants do not only need the card measured resources such as nutrients, minerals, CO2, O2, sunlight and water? What if plans also need love, care, companionship, compassion and other intangible conditions? How about sound waves, what if plants need those too? What if plants are affected by the singing of the birds in a positive way? It would be quite interesting not only to study such conditions and their effect on plants, but also to use such knowledge that we come up with in order to devise systems by which we can care for plants. For instance, if in agriculture we know that a specific kind of crop or fruit tree needs such an amount of nitrogen, how about also knowing that it needs such specific sound waves in order to bear good fruit? That would be a completely new dimension in agriculture. I hope that when such time comes, sound requirements of a plant would be provided to it through natural means such as the singing of birds rather than using electronic devices that emit specific frequencies of sound waves in a farm.

Types of Thieves

Some organisms may be specialized in feeding on a particular type of plant, such as the silkworm and the mulberry tree leaves. Other organisms may feed on a variety of plants and animals. Similarly, thieves may specialize and 'prey' on particular types of robbery. Some thieves would be pickpockets that specialize on picking pockets. Others might be burglars who break into houses and rob their contents. Still other types of thieves might be those who steal bags from pedestrians. Yet other even more dangerous types may threaten to use force in order to take your belongings right before your very eyes. There are of course thieves who are 'generalists', they do not specialize in a particular type of robbery yet 'feed' on a variety of different types.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Interactions of Nutrients

Some foods can substitute others. Some foods are required by humans and cannot be substituted. This is an essential piece of information for nutrition. Some nutrients would actually enhance the effect of each other thus making the consumption of them together much more beneficial than consuming each of them by itself.

Supplying all Essential Resources

Sometimes in order for a plant to make use of a particular resource, such as a nutrient, it cannot do so except in the availability of another resource, such as another nutrient. So no matter how abundant the first resource is, the lack of availability or scarcity of the second resource would limit the growth of the plant.

Similarly, for humans, it is best to seek which required resources are scarce and try to make them available rather than increase the resources which are already present in abundance.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Survival and Fitness of Nations

Organisms that are able to survive on a wide variety of resources are better able to survive. Those that are too specialized would have a more difficult time surviving due to their dependence on a specific type of resource. Nations that are addicted to easy lifestyles can be considered as less fit than those which are used to hardship.