Seth Godin: The Sugar Cane Machine
Thoughts on competition and customer service.
A small island grows sugar cane. Many people harvest it, and one guy owns the machine that can process the cane and turn it into juice.
The guy with the machine, of course. It gives him leverage, and since he’s the only one, he can pay the pickers whatever he likes–people will either sell it to him or stop picking. No fun being the cane picker. He can also charge whatever he likes to the people who need the cane juice, because without him, there’s no juice. No fun being a baker or cook.