What do cows represent?

In the context of Ed Batista's article "Growth, Profitability and Return on Attention," cows represent "Cash Cows," which are tasks, projects, and other opportunities that may not offer opportunities for meaningful personal or professional growth, but are highly profitable. These are activities that can be executed relatively quickly and efficiently, and even if they're complex or large-scale, they're not that stressful to deliver. The recommendation for dealing with Cash Cows is to determine how much attention and energy are required to sustain the current level of success and to not invest more than necessary. The risks associated with Cash Cows include taking these efforts for granted and failing to sustain them, as well as investing additional resources into an already successful effort with no expectation of significant growth.