Better Than New


What about the people? by morepete
July 23, 2007, 11:26 am
Filed under: Empathy

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Om Malik raises a great question today, inspired by the demise of SunRocket and Amp’d: What about the people? This is the most important question any business can ask.

The sad fact is, “What about the people?” is the last question most businesses and investors ask themselves. What’s the margin? What’s the business model? How is this offering different? Who’s the management team? What are the benefit packages? But never, “How will we meet the needs of ordinary folks?”

This isn’t just a start-up issue. Tons of companies act completely agnostically of the effects they have on people. They’re not immoral, they’re amoral. They simply can’t make decisions for positive benefit consciously, because any kind of consideration for people, any empathy, was left out of the original mix.

If more companies spent less time worrying about themselves and more worrying about regular people, those businesses would do better and the world could be a better place. Yes, it’s a huge problem that SunRocket customers are getting left in the lurch here. It’s a bigger problem that credit card companies regularly manipulate payment dates to encourage people to miss a payment, incur a late fee and lose their advantageous interest rates. It’s a bigger problem still that billions of dollars get wasted each year to develop products that don’t have a reason to exist.

We need to rethink why companies exist. They are not just here to self-sustain and make money — they are here to meet the needs of the people who work for them and for the people who buy the stuff they make. If executive teams just ask themselves, again and again, “What about the people?”, the American economy would be in better shape – and America could, too.

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3 Comments so far
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Very well said, Pete. Keep saying it.

Comment by Dad

[…] best way to repair inequalities in Africa and South America? Or, as Om Malik so succinctly put it, “What about the people?“), the actual XO laptop they’ve produced is quite cool and has capabilities rare on […]

Pingback by Cult of Mac » Blog Archive » XO Laptop is eMate Redux?

[…] best way to repair inequalities in Africa and South America? Or, as Om Malik so succinctly put it, “What about the people?“), the actual XO laptop they’ve produced is quite cool and has capabilities rare on […]

Pingback by Tech News » Blog Archive » XO Laptop is eMate Redux?




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