DEV Community


Discussion on: "Don't be evil" is not good enough

theelectricdave profile image
David S.

Everything changes once you begin the initial public offering.
You can outline what your goals, moral code is, etc.. but now that you are running a publicly traded company, and you have a set of incentives that, if followed, lead you down the path of becoming a big evil company, just like all the others.

Maybe this is an obscure analogy, but if you have ever played simcity, you know about how an incentive structure affects your behavior. In many early simcity games, there was very little in the way of 'quality of life for your citizens' type metrics. The metrics that existed were population size and how much money you made. Therefore, the game nudges people to creating large cities that make a lot of money, and disregarding all the other things.

Running a large publicly traded corporation is just like that.

I tend to not trust or purchase things from publically owned companies, except for their stock. Only their stock provides me with tangible value in the form of capital returns. The products the company sells are actually very low value products because their aim is to maximize profit above all.

Apple is a good example of a company delivering very low value products relative to their cost, and returning a portion of the difference to investors.

So the problem is what metrics mr. or mrs. CEO is now thinking about.... not whether a golden code of ethics is enshrined.

This is why i buy Tesla, Apple, Facebook, and Google stock, but drive a Toyota, have a fleet of old Dells, don't use social media, and only use google when duckduckgo isn't giving good search results ;)