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March 23, 2010

This is a quick post that has been sitting in my draft folder too long.

I watched Mike Maples‘ presentation about “Thunder Lizards” a little while back.  It was a good talk and hopefully I get to meet him in person soon. 

Here’s what stuck out to me: venture investors talk about investing in “home runs” all day long. We know that it’s a hit driven business, so we all talk about going for big wins.

But there is a subjective difference between a thunder lizard and a home run (or a 10x, or a “Billion dollar company”, or whatever”.  I forgot about it until I heard Mike’s talk.

The “800 LB Gorilla” is a good image too, but funny enough, it’s usually used to talk about the big incumbent in the space (ie: Google, Facebook, Adobe, etc). 

Thunder Lizards destroy the terrain that they pass through.  They eat everything in site, and only get more ferocious as they grow.

In business terms, I think of them as companies that destroy their competitors and completely re-orient their industries.  The destructive power of these companies also accelerate as they grow.  

Maybe there really isn’t that much of a practical difference between a home run company and a thunder lizard.  But I like the imagery much better.  It reminds me that entrepreneurs of Thunder Lizard companies need to have a healthy dose of violent aggression in the way they go after their opportunity. It also reminds me that usually when a Thunder Lizard is through, industries are usually in disarray and are never the same. 

Finally, home runs are fun, but if you want to kill an 800LB Gorilla, you better bring a Thunder Lizard, or something like it. 

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