When a whale dies in shallow water, its carcass, weighing from 30 to 100 tons depending on size and species, is devoured relatively quickly by predators and scavengers. But when a whale dies in deep water, its carcass descends to the depths and can sustain an entire ecosystem for years afterward. Much the same when large companies fail, writes one HBR blogger, who notes instances of cases where large international firms suffer a downturn and the result is that in the long run, those people who the big company let go ended up going into business for themselves or joining smaller, more nimble start-ups. One more reason why “too big to fail” increasingly looks like a bad idea.

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