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Ethics In Business

Warning : unbridled righteousness ahead. It's my blog, you're free to change channel at any time.

I've been active the UK's software business for twenty-five years this year. Most of the people I began my career with are either retired or dead. So, entirely on the basis of the Last Man Standing principle, accordingly I've just appointed myself as the industry's village elder.

And this elder is pissed off with his village.

I've identifed an employee of a (large) competitor anonymously shilling on various forums for their company, and shilling subjective negativity about Xero*.

It's the latest in a line of what have been in most cases minor ethical transgressions but which, cumulatively, don't smell at all right.

Sometimes they're funny, particularly watching people clumsily shilling on Twitter like a latter-day idiot version of WWII radio progaganda. That stuff doesn't tend to find its target and actually does more damage to the person who's making a fool of themselves.

The stuff that pisses me off, though, is either at the mostly harmless end of the spectrum; opinion from people with conflicts of interest who don't explicitly disclose their interests (I'll charitably excuse them on the grounds of forgetfullness), right through to the more pernicious anonymous shilling. 

The internet is amazing and for many, many worthy reasons, anonymity on the internet is amazing, too.

I like lists, so here's a list of what I think.

  1. Success comes when you work hard, do a good job, have a little talent and sometimes get a little lucky.
  2. Success doesn't come when you employ clandestine, dishonest tactics to negate inherent deficiencies in 1.

Admittedly, that was a short list.

But it pisses me off, and not in a manner that should give solace to the people who cheat like this. It's more of a fundamentally disappointed in humanity kind of pissed off.

Call me old fashioned - or even naive - but I think there's a place for ethics in business. And not just a place. A huge fucking mega-temple of ethics, with angels and harp music on permaplay and carved effigies of Michael Landon and everything.

Whatever gets you through the night.


* I hope the irony of me talking about Xero on my personal blog isn't lost on anyone.

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