TunesDay, and today I’m actually inspired by a novel I’m reading called The Circle. I know – a book? We do music today and we’re going to. The book, however, is what got me started down today’s path so let’s give credit where it’s due, shall we? It’s the story of a young, idealistic woman who goes to work for a large social network company – sort of an amalgamation of several in my mind. As the blurb says:
What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.
I won’t ruin the story for you but the quote that kept popping into my head was the one from Matthew: For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? That’s what led to our song today – from Tracy Chapman:
In particular, there is a point here about which every business person should think:
I thought, thought I could find a way
Beat the system;
Make a deal and have no debts to pay
Take it all, I’d take it all, I’d run away
For me myself first class and first rate
But all that you have is your soul
As you probably know if you spend any time here on the screed, I’ve never understood marketers that promote false claims nor service businesses that don’t provide service. The notion of “beating the system” by cutting corners, stealing ideas, or burying hidden fees in the fine print is a very foreign one to me. I’m pretty sure for every insurance claim that someone goes out of their way to deny in order to maximize profit a human somewhere hurts just as much as an employee gets rewarded for improving the bottom line. Businesses don’t make decisions: people do.
If we want to, as she says, “wake in the world with a clear conscience and clean hands” we need to earn a fair profit through great products and wonderful service. We need to deal with customers, partners, and employees as if they’re friends and family, not rubes or marks. Sounds simple enough, right?