Ralph L. Woods: An ambitious farmer, unhappy about the yield of his crops, heard of a
highly recommended new seed corn. He bought some and produced a crop that was so abundant
his astonished neighbors asked him to sell them a portion of the new seed. But the farmer,
afraid that he would lose a profitable competitive advantage, refused.
The second year the new seed did not produce as good a crop, and when the third-year
crop was still worse it dawned upon the farmer that his prize corn was being pollinated by
the inferior grade of corn from his neighbors' fields.
C.R. Gibson, Wellsprings of Wisdom.
You may have heard the story of two friends who met for dinner in a restaurant. Each
requested filet of sole, and after a few minutes the waiter came back with their order.
Two pieces of fish, a large and a small, were on the same platter. One of the men
proceeded to serve his friend. Placing the small piece on a plate, he handed it across the
table. "Well, you certainly do have nerve!" exclaimed his friend.
"What's troubling you?" asked the other. "Look what you've done,"
he answered. "You've given me the little piece and kept the big one for
yourself." "How would you have done it?" the man asked. His friend replied,
"If I were serving, I would have given you the big piece." "Well,"
replied the man, "I've got it, haven't I?" At this, they both laughed.
Daily Bread, August 11, 1992.
In its January 25, l988 issue, TIME provided an insight on selfishness and its
corollary, sharing. Speaking about the introduction of the videocassette recorder, the
article said, "The company had made a crucial mistake. While at first Sony kept its
Beta technology mostly to itself, JVC, the Japanese inventor of the VHS (format), shared
its secret with a raft of other firms. As a result, the market was overwhelmed by the
sheer volume of the VHS machines being produced."
This drastically undercut Sony's market share. The first year, Sony lost 40 percent of
the market, and by 1987 it controlled only 10 percent. So now Sony has jumped on the VHS
bandwagon. While it still continues to make Beta-format VCRs [interestingly a higher
quality technology] Sony's switch to VHS, according to TIME, will likely send Beta
machines to "the consumer-electronics graveyard." Even in a cut-throat business,
sharing has its rewards.