If anybody ever needed a reason to study marine biology, here it is. Although minuscule, the pistol shrimp makes tremendous waves (actually bubbles) that force larger animals to take notice. The pistol shrimp uses it’s abnormally large claw to both communicate and shoot bubbles. These bubbles, which can reach temperatures of up to 4,700ºC (close to the temperature of the sun), are capable of taking out larger fish and breaking small glass jars, and compete with much larger animals like the Sperm Whale and Beluga Whale for the title of “Loudest animal in the sea.”


What does this teach us about small business and personal philosophy?


Small business in important

Many find small business insignificant. However, according to the the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small business drives the economy, employing 99.7% of all Americans. Larger companies make the headlines, but smaller companies often account for the technology, ideas, and innovation they acquire.


You don’t have to be a major player to make noise

The pistol shrimp uses one claw to generate a sound that competes with the noises made by the Sperm Whale and Beluga Whale. In business, as in society, you don’t have to be huge to be heard. Dell Computers began from a guy selling computers out the back of his car. With new communication tools like blogs, Twitter, etc., you don’t have to be famous to start or become involved in a conversation.


Partnerships are paramount

Back in the day, competition reigned. Today, we have to work together. There are more options than ever, and people buy products and services based on affinity with a brand. The pistol shrimp typically involves itself in a symbiotic relationship by sharing burrows with goby fish. The goby fish, with its sharp vision, provides a warning mechanism to the pistol shrimp, while the pistol shrimp provides protection. Who can you work with to make bigger waves?


Without goals we can’t build strategy

The pistol shrimp must be accurate to ensure survival. Because of its relatively small size, if it misses its mark, the shrimp risks becoming the one that falls prey. We need to develop a clear set of goals in order to develop a strategy for obtaining them. Also, having goals is not enough. Putting a plan in place and acting on those plans are necessary to reach them.


The pistol shrimp may be small, but is far from insignificant. They teach a valuable lesson for business, society, and personal relationships. Whether you’re a small business owner, an employee, a person with an idea or thought—don’t feel as though you aren’t big enough to make a difference. Figure out what you want to do, develop a plan, and do it.

Two others animals using projectile weaponry are the Archer Fish and Velvet Worm. Check them out.