The hardest thing for any company to do in our current economic climate is to portray itself as a force for doing only good. The ‘no evil’ approach may have worked before the bubbles all busted, sending our economy and the world reeling from a cloud of evil and mistrust. Between the crooked affairs of most corporations in our country and a lack of confidence in our government officials, trying to portray yourself as a do no evil company is somewhat naive.

According to several news sources it appears that the only one that may benefit is Twitter itself and not anyone else. In one article it stated that:

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in business, and am still learning, is to never trust anyone who says “you can trust me.” That’s a big red flag that they’re planning something really messed up in the near future. And likewise, a company shouldn’t be out there saying “don’t be evil” or “be a force for good.”

First because it’s basically impossible to balance a profit motive with a goodness motive. And in fact the nice thing about capitalism is that everyone acting in their own self interest tends to be good for everyone else, too, if appropriate government forces are put in place to stop monopolies, pollution, etc. Being a socialist is a great way to get laid in college but it’s no way to run a society.

And second because when people, or governments, or companies start talking about being a force for good, there’s a good chance that a serious amount of self righteousness is brewing behind the scenes. Everyone who fights a war thinks they have God on their side. And some of the most atrocious moments in history were done in the name of good.

I recall that in the movie Patton, one German officer mentioned that he wondered whose side God was on as the Allies spearheaded a drive toward Germany itself. This just showed how some people think, even when the rest of us know what is right and what is wrong.

How about a ‘don’t be stupid’ motto for a company? This might be a more honest approach, IMHO.

Comments welcome.

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