Standing for Something
I want to see more companies start to actually take a stand on issues.
That’s one of the things I respected about Basecamp. Until their cofounders kind of revealed themselves to have some serious issues, they had a track record of striving to be good citizens.
For the most part, companies love to seem like they’re taking a stand on issues. They love to put out commercials paying lip service to how they believe immigrants make America great, or they’ll talk about how much they value the LGBT community, only to not really act like it when push comes to shove.
I know plenty of tech companies that love to talk a big game about their values, but their political donations paint a different picture. Plenty of tech companies get the opportunity to stand up for the vulnerable, but they don’t bother.
The businesses that are going to win in the next decade are going to be the ones that take being principled to the next level. These are going to be the businesses that won’t just put out feel-good statements; they’ll have policies both internally and externally facing about what constitutes good conduct. They’ll be proud to be vendors to green energy makers, and they’ll turn down the lucrative contract for the oil company.
These winning businesses will win because they’ll be authentic. And traditional companies will try to brand themselves as authentic, but it won’t work for the same reason that millennials killed Applebee’s; authenticity inherently can’t just be the suit you put on. It has to be who you are.