Ethics 101 For Assholes: Money Driven, Power Hungry, Ruthless Founders, VC & Employees
Sponsored by Founders Under 40™ Group + GreatestFounders.com
Ethics 101 For Assholes: Money Driven, Power Hungry, Ruthless Founders, VC & Employees – Sponsored By Founders Under 40**™** Group + GreatestFounders.com
So you fucking love money, making money, spending money, and are so fucking driven that you hope one day to be on Forbes richest people list. . .well I hope you aren’t going to get there with questionable unethical behaviors, like Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos.
So you love power and can’t get enough of it. It’s like a fucking drug. You don’t know how to restrain yourself. And women & men are just attracted to your power and money.
It does feel good to have it, right? Let’s clear things, I’m not here to judge or be your moral conscious. I’m like you – trying to build something great and lasting without having to become an unethical – soulless -asshole. I have got the asshole part figured out like the middle finger.
- Anyway,If you know you have an unethical side to you, this content is for you.
- If you are a founder / venture capitalist just trying to stay on the right path in business and keep your soul, this guide is for you.
- If you are a founder who just doesn’t know too much about ethics, then this is for you.
- For employee who have had to do some questionable things for a job or pay
- For the employees and systems who govern lives, this is for you.
“Ethics is what gets talked about after the shit hits the news and many victims are left violated” (Source: Unknown)
The above quote is a good definition for modern ethics. Theranos, the failed billion-dollar startup facing criminal charges, was largely brought down with the help of whistleblowers, Now, Two of those whistleblowers, Erika Cheung and Tyler Shultz, launched an organization, called Ethics in Entrepreneurship, focuses on teaching entrepreneurs ethics.
I say, “That’s nice but. . .”
I have an idea maybe the lesson is, don’t do unto others, that you don’t want done to you. Yet that message never gets through. So the great typical and not so typical tips below should be a great starting block for the few of us, startups whose moral compass needs adjustment regularly.
Emmanuel “Manny” Omikunle, BJ Mannyst (Unconventional & Conventional Marketing Services For Early or Growing Service Tech Companies) + Founders Under 40™ Group via GreatestFounders.com (1000+ Unconventional Global Founders Community. Which provides more personal touch for founders.)
WARNINGL GIVING THIS LINK / eBOOK TO A ASSHOLE STARTUP FOUNDER, ASSHOLE VENTURE CAPITALIST, EMPLOYEES, HR, MANAGEMENT, ACCELERATOR, INCUBATOR, etc MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE.
SOME TRAITS OF ASSHOLES & BADASSES
The traits might come in many combination and shapes so use this as a guide not as an official assessment. Some founders, VC, employees may have some or very few. If you know you are an asshole, please continue to read. This is for your fucking good.
[“But judging from the preponderance of stories circulating out there, it sure looks like tech founders collectively tend to act like jerks as they build their fortunes.’]
[”Take Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has admitted to sending instant messages in which he wrote “I’m going to fuck them” in reference to associates with whom he was collaborating on a Facebook-like website. Or the emails that revealed that he’d referred to Facebook users as “dumb fucks.” Then there’s Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, who once admitted, before some of his scammy advertising partners were publicized, that “I did every horrible thing in the book to — just to get revenues right away.”]
[“And then there was the time, which is now part of Silicon Valley legend, when Steve Jobs misled his Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak about the size of a bonus the pair received from Atari, giving him only $350 and keeping $5,000 for himself.”]
So Below are compiled list of good badass and real nightmare badass traits:
(note every trait will be different in every person)
Lack energy and enthusiasm
They are energy wasters, or drainers. They are just not expressing any desire to allocate energy for the outcome of a project or objective. They will sometimes use their energy for something that has no relations to priority.
Are okay with mediocre
Anyone that always settles for mediocre outcome in everything is someone you need to watch carefully or run the other way. They are likely just doing enough to get by. No stretching goals for this person.
Lack clear vision and direction
Imagine getting into a car and the driver has no sense how to get to the destination. The people in this trait sometimes talk the talk however they hardly walk and they stumble a lot.
Lack good judgement
Watch people as they navigate life and you will spot people who just have bad judgement about a lot of things. So approach these people with caution. Their decisions just constantly raises questions of their leadership.
They don’t operate with the mindset of collaboration and operating as a whole instead of just an individual silo. They see others as possible threats. You often see them without that many support mechanism personally and in business.
Resist change, new environments, or new ideas
No matter the suggestions, and input you make to them they never take it in first before making final decisions. They know it all and see it all.
They don’t know how to implement
You really can’t go far if you have no idea how to go from rough concept to concrete offerings. Well if you have money you can pay people.
Never learning from mistakes
The mistakes that happen aren’t making them better, wiser, etc. Or they let mistakes beat them down to submission and depression. Some even lack confidence to move forward.
Without soft interpersonal skills
You are doomed in a collaborative and human environment if you can’t navigate the people side of business. It can be hell sometimes but it can be great. Either it’s never taught to some assholes, or are biologically not into people, or they just don’t get it.
Failing to build for the whole
Building to last means building others as well as yourself. So sometimes this takes time to develop and invest in others as far as your janitor. Invest in others because you never know where talent and opportunity will come from.
Some have GRIT
Fortune favors the brave. And grit is required to succeed in business. Are you tough and fearless in the face of uncertainty? People with grit usually have gone through some life or death threatening situation which builds strength to persist.
Having a competitive advantage helps
Having tangible or intangible attributes that just separates you from the crowd comes in handy. It is usually just something about you, the good asshole, that people want to follow. It could even be spiritual nature.
The size of the fight in the dog
It’s not the biggest dog that wins in life. It’s the one willing to pound the pavement even if they haven’t eaten for days. It’s the one who sleeps in their cars as they chase down their 101th VC investor pitch meeting. A awesome badass is just fucking determined to win for the short term and the long term.
Having confidence and great self esteem
This helps if presented appropriately. Arrogance and stupidity trying to pass for confidence is just asking for failure. Leverage confidence however they back it up or admit what they don’t know. They are the captain of their mind, body, and soul not the fucking slave.
Know their strengths and weaknesses
At a certain stage in your life or founder career, I think you should have a good idea what you are terrible at and what you need to let others do. It’s just stupid trying to play soccer when you are great in pin-pong.
Their personal style is theirs
They own their style. Either fashion, leadership, parenting, nurturing, support, etc. However they know how to adjust if necessary. They care not what people think but welcome input from trusted people.
They are not knowing of everything
Not knowing everything is sometimes fun. Sometimes it gives good badasses an opportunity to imagine the possibilities or other paths. They can just live in the moment. They can plan for the future moments. Because they have faith everything will work out regardless. Having faith in something bigger than you does help a lot.
They are role models for the rest of us
There are times we ourselves are not feeling courageous. They are the inspiration we sometimes need when we doubt ourselves. I write this knowing that people like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates have given so much in terms of examples.
MONEY & POWER ETHICS
[“While stereotypes suggest that poor people are more likely to lie and steal, new research finds that it’s actually the wealthy who tend to behave unethically. In a series of experiments — involving everything from dangerous driving to lying in job negotiations and cheating to get a prize — researchers found that, across the board, richer people behaved worse. But, rather than class itself, the authors suggest that it’s views about greed that may largely explain the difference.”]
[In the first two experiments, University of California, Berkeley, psychologists positioned observers at San Francisco intersections to watch for drivers who didn’t wait their turn at lights or yield for pedestrians. The researchers noted the make, age and appearance of cars — a marker for the drivers’ socioeconomic status — as well as the drivers’ gender and approximate age. If you ever thought that the guy driving a late-model Mercedes is more of a jerk than the one behind the wheel of a battered Honda, you’d be right. Even after controlling for factors like traffic density and the driver’s gender and perceived age (younger men tend to drive faster and often rudely), drivers of the newest, most high-status cars were much more likely to cut other drivers off.]
[“The drivers of the most expensive vehicles were four times more likely to cut off drivers of lower status vehicles,” says Paul Piff, a doctoral student at Berkeley and lead author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.]
Quickly Answer The Following:
Now that you have an idea as to the role social-economic status can play into your lapse into bad behavior, I stop to wonder whether you can control yourself or is it hopeless?
- Why are you stealing, lying, cheating, manipulating to get ahead?
- Do you believe because of your social & economic situation you believe you can get away with it or have you seen others gotten away with it?
- Do you feel less generous and less sensitive to others of lesser social economic status?
- Do you feel the poor, sickly, or powerless are inferior?
- Do you feel ethics is for the weak and vulnerable?
- What is your beliefs about greed and unethical behavior?
- Do you believe selfish behavior is okay?
- Do you have a problem accepting kickbacks, bribes, fee for que jumping, cheating, misrepresentation, etc?
- Do you think it’s okay to exploit the weak, ignorant, uneducated even if the victim was your frail mother? .
- Do you often need reminders to give back to charities, to people, to employees, to co-workers, to loved ones?
- Do you know someone who frequent areas, neighborhoods, that are poor, drug infested, violent or a.k.a almost hopeless?
- Do you use your money and power to get favors from others?
Founders, Find Out If You Have Greed Genes / Just Motivated Genes
Signs you have have greed genes:
- [Overly self-centered behavior becomes the first give-away of greedy people. Greedy people are always saying “me, me, me” with very little regard for the needs and feelings of others.]
- [Envy and greed are like twins. While greed is a strong desire for more and more possessions (such as wealth and power), envy goes one step further and includes a strong desire by greedy people for the possessions of others.]
- [Greedy people lack empathy. Caring—being concerned about the feelings of others—is not part of their repertoire. As such, they have little qualms about causing pain to others. Their inability to empathize, their lack of genuine interest in the ideas and feelings of others, and their unwillingness to take personal responsibility for their behavior and actions makes them very difficult people to be with.]
- [They are never satisfied. Greedy people look at the world as a zero-sum game. Instead of thinking that everyone would benefit as the pie gets larger, they view the pie as a constant and want to have the biggest part. They truly believe that they deserve more, even if it comes at someone else’s expense.]
- [Greedy people are experts in manipulation. They are highly talented in taking credit for work done by others. They can be charming, but their principal agenda is to have people around them that feed their ego.]
- [Greedy people are into the short run; they are focused on satisfying their immediate needs and leave it to others to cope with the consequences. To illustrate, as leaders of corporations, they are more interested in getting their bonuses, instead of making investments for future innovation, or to share whatever benefits accrued with their employees.]
- [In the pursuit of their material needs, they know no limits. Greedy people are not good at maintaining boundaries. They will compromise moral values and ethics to achieve their goals. They look for loopholes or clever ways to outsmart the rules and regulations that have been put into place to moderate this kind of behavior.]
How To Quickly Deal With It:
- You can wait for disaster like health issues, family death, etc to hit and then change your ways or you can change before disaster.
- It’s a choice you make. Society might push you to live that life however you can chose how much of it should be in moderation.
- Shoot for simpler, meaningful, happier and fulfilling life outside of work if possible.
In the sections below, we’ll go into detail on how to minimize your drive for more power, more money, more women, more things and put those tangibles into perspective.
“Economist Milton Friedman has argued that it is the social responsibility of corporations to increase profits there by putting more people to work and paying more taxes to support programs that benefit the general public. But business ethicists caution against a myopic pursuit toward earnings. The quarterly reporting syndrome that pressures companies to meet earnings expectations promotes temptation that can push some to distort the truth.”
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ETHICS
- Create a new management position, review board that would ensure all company projects are ethically sound.
- Seek input from diverse views so you don’t build biased, deceptive and malicious applications.
- Creating corporate principles to ensure your systems are designed and deployed in an ethical way. Some companies set up ethics officers or review boards to oversee these principles.
- Keep promise to live by ethical code 24/7
- Create mechanism that minimizes financial pressure.
- Work with government regulation, NGO, and the public to develop guidelines and framework.
- Work with employees to address issues or moral issues.
- The reality is A.I ethics is not homogeneous. Every stakeholder has their own views of A.I ethics.
- What rights do people have if they don’t want to be a part of the A.I’s processes such as facial recognition, tracking, genetic profiling, etc?
- Let your vc, co-founders, employees, know where your vision and values lay regards to using technology or other tools.
- Realize that your system could be compromised, fooled, less accurate and can impact people’s lives
- Is this A.I. process necessary or are their better ways to achieve the same results without ethical issues.
- Read up on Google A.I. principles
- Executives must carefully weigh the company’s financial interests and well as ST, LT social consequences.
- Work with third parties that will keep you and your organization in check such as a neutral NGO, Lawyer, Person .
- Don’t let the forces of capitalism drive what your company stands for because profits is not everything. It’s just one of other things for sustainability.
- Ask your team, Why do we need A.I.?
- Ask yourself, is competition a key driver for compromising yours or company values?
- Encourage your employees to help shape your policies?
Also read up on: Principles for the Governance of Human Genome Editing or Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance
Read up on: Artificial Intelligence as a Positive and Negative Factor in Global Risk
Read up on: The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence BY MACHINE INTELLIGENCE RESEARCH INSTITUTE
[“Meaningful cultures will implore workers to do the right thing. That means individuals are encouraged to come forward with their concerns and know they will be heard and acted upon. Such a system allows management to address and handle issues in a holistic way to ensure strong ethical health.”]
OFFERS, MARKETING & COMMUNICATION ETHICS
Please read up: Direct Marketing Association Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice, American Marketing Association Code of Conduct https://www.ama.org/codes-of-conduct/ , National Communication Association , American Press Association, IPRA, the International Public Relations Association, and others
Below Are Examples of things to keep in mind:
There are some business words where talking industry jargon works however most people speak plain English or plainly. People are tired, and busy that’s why you use plain talk. And in some cases complicated languages just make people delay engagement
Be careful not to spread lies, mislead, deceive, defraud people. Your job is to do everything in your power to help the prospect make the right decision for them.
State The Conditions or Terms Simply
It is important to disclose all descriptions, promises, and claims of limitation. State when conditions, situations, and circumstances that might make the product or service imperfect or ineffectiveness
- If you are being paid to endorse or promote disclose who is the party. Make it clear in your message or products intent regardless of the platform or audience or channels.
- Providing info on cancellation or return or exchange policies. Their expectations.
- If you use subscription model make sure to disclose if their account will continue to be charged or is there a change in offering, features, benefits, pricing, expertise.
- Let them know how to cancel or bring up issues. Time periods and deadlines, fees…
- Disclose the identity of the marketer and contact information
- The interval between shipments or services to be provided
- The different prices or the range of prices of the goods or services
- Whether the consumer will be billed or automatically charged
- When and how frequently the consumer will be billed or charged
- The subject to handling changes or scope of work
- The length of any approval period in time or quantity
- Any minimum purchase obligations, and so on. So learn from others or talk to a lawyer.
Marketing To Children or The Vulnerable
There are many guidelines and laws to consider before marketing to children or the vulnerable so look into it. It’s just unacceptable to prey on vulnerable people.
In determining the suitability of a communication with children online, through the internet, mobile, television, schools, etc. – children under 13, marketers should first determine whether the collection and use of the child’s data for marketing purposes or the signing of marketing material to the child is permitted your countries law, such as the Children’s Online.
Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), or state law. – marketing is suitable for the child taking into account the age range, knowledge, sophistication, and maturity of their intended audience.
Using The Word “FREE”
Who doesn’t like free. Free food. Free sex. Free money. Free cars. Yeah if everything was free there will be no wars? I doubt it but you never know.
Free is when you offer something that has little to no financial cost. Free in your message or offer must be explained clearly. If it it is buy one get one free, let people know.
People hate surprises. People hate it when surprises cost them time, money, reputation, credibility. So explain what FREE means. Also the product or service that’s offered for free should not have inconsistency in product volume, time, quality, quantity without a clear applicable statement. For example, you can’t offer a SaaS product with a set free feature in the morning then change it in the evening without telling people.
DATA & IT ETHICS
Everything is big data. Yet there only a few founders qnd organizations who are doing everything to keep you safe from the assholes who think everyone is lab rat.
Imagine a world where gigantic data can be used to discriminate, manipulate, massive amount of people like a herd of sheeps. One may be running from her shadow so the rest just follow without asking questions.
For more about the future web like web3.0 pick up this eBook.
There are numerous ethical issues, especially as companies begin monetizing their data, even the ancient data in paper format, externally for purposes different from those for which the data was initially collected.
We are going to need modern ethical and legal frameworks to address the new sophisticated technology that can accumulate, store , and analyze so much in a short period.
The pointers below are some guidelines:
[**Private customer data and identity should remain private:**
Privacy does not mean secrecy, as private data might need to be audited based on legal requirements, but that private data obtained from a person with their consent should not be exposed for use by other businesses or individuals with any traces to their identity.]
[**Shared private information should be treated confidentially:**
Third party companies share sensitive data — medical, financial or locational — and need to have restrictions on whether and how that information can be shared further.]
[**Customers should have a transparent view**
A view of how our data is being used or sold, and the ability to manage the flow of their private information across massive, third-party analytical systems.]
[**Big Data should not interfere with human will:**
Big data analytics can moderate and even determine who we are before we make up our own minds. Companies need to begin to think about the kind of predictions and inferences that should be allowed and the ones that should not.]
[**Big data should not institutionalize unfair biases:**
Biases like racism or sexism. Machine learning algorithms can absorb unconscious biases in a population and amplify them via training samples.]
FYI**:** if the above is not enough, you might want to join meetup groups, community entity, association on your current or future data dilemma. The consequences to not practicing ethical data management is that prospects and cusomers will not trust you as much.
+ Founders, their organization, marketers should provide consumers a mechanism where they may add, modify or eliminate direct marketing communications from your company
+ Use website, telephone number, email, social media, physical address so people can get in touch.
+ As founder and marketer you should be sensitive to the concern of consumer privacy and should be diligent in what you collect, associate, give access to, sell, or exchange.
+ I would strongly consider sensitive and/or intimate data has very confidential and put every highest processes or measures to keep it secure. You have to take this very seriously.
VENTURE CAPITALIST,MANAGEMENT & FOUNDERS
As a founder you are expected to uphold yourself, company, partners, venture capitalist- to the highest possible standards of honest and ethical conduct. Plus, think about your long term reputation.
The following is what to keep in mind:
- [Conflicts of Interest A conflict of interest occurs when your personal interests interfere, or appear to interfere, in any way, with the interests of the Company. A conflict of interest can arise either when you have interests that may make it difficult for you to perform your professional obligations fully or when you otherwise take action for your direct or indirect benefit or the direct or indirect benefit of a third party that is inconsistent with the interests of the Company. Conflicts of interest also arise when you, or a member of your family, receive improper personal benefits as a result of your position in the Company. Loans to, or guarantees of obligations of, any employees, officers, directors or any of their family members are likely to pose conflicts of interest, as are transactions of any kind between the Company and any other entity in which you or any member of your family have a material interest.]
- As founder, [it is imperative that you avoid any investment, interest, association or other relationship that interferes, might interfere, or might be thought to interfere, with your independent exercise of judgment in the Company’s best interest and otherwise with your professional obligations to the Company. ]
- Accurate Periodic Reports. As you are aware, full, fair, accurate, timely and understandable disclosure in the reports and other documents that (YOU) file with, or submit to stakeholders is absolutely important. It is critical for you to maintain your good reputation, to comply with your obligations under the laws and to meet the expectations of your stockholders and other members of the investment community.
- Effort needs to be made to encourage compliance with the good system of internal accounting controls is required at all times, and no action designed to circumvent such controls and procedures will be tolerated.
So all simply means, hire someone or work with someone that will help you meet your compliance with good disclosure controls and procedures best practices.
Financial Reporting Systems in More Detail
Set mechanism for financial records. So take responsibility for establishing and managing your financial reporting systems to ensure that:
- All business transactions are properly authorized
- All records fairly and accurately reflect the transactions or occurrences to which they relate
- All records fairly and accurately reflect in reasonable detail the Company’s assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses.
- The Company’s accounting records do not contain any false or intentionally misleading entries.
- No transactions are intentionally are mis-classified to avoid or comprise the records.
- All transactions are supported by accurate documentation in reasonable detail and recorded in the proper account and in the proper accounting period.
- No information is concealed from the internal auditors, the independent auditors, the audit committee or the full board of directors.
- Expected to comply with both the set and spirit of all applicable laws and governmental rules and regulations or be willing to engage the right government entity or governor/minister to help improve or modify it
- Educate everyone of all department about necessary laws and governmental rules and regulations
- Monitor compliance for all business functions
- Spot any possible violations of necessary laws, rules and regulations.
- Encourage and reward good integrity from team members, vc, employees
- Try to eliminate or reduce any pressure or incentive to achieve specific results through altering documentations or digital records
GET STARTED EARLY & GRADUALLY IN STARTUPS
Being a founder or entrepreneur is not all joy and play. It is a daily grind and the mindset of failure is not an option. You are expected to think about so many things even if you only enjoy one of it. What can the founders and early team do to give ethics a role in their growing start-up? – Manny of BJ Mannyst
The pointers might come in handy if you’re an asshole or not sure what are good best approaches for startups.
- The pressures to cut ethical corners in the beginning are great because who wants bunch of red tapes around their dream? However you’ve got to take care of this shit so that your future headaches will be a drop in the bucket. I will suggest you google, startup checklist or business checklist or smb questionnaires or business structure checks, funding checks, the most common business legal documents
- To counter the temptation founders must constantly be self aware of actions and possible consequences.
- Values should appear in business plans, on desks, on desktop screens, etc you’ve got to live it everyday.
- Be aware of teaching moments. So when situation that are unethical rise use it as a way to correct behavior.
- We founders are sometimes known to bend the truth to achieve our short term and long term objectives. As you try to attract dev talent you might tell them you, “raised huge funds” but it could just be half a million. We, founders, could be going through hell and some how we will find a way to put on our best smile and charm.
- Have team discuss issues. Keep a method of staying in touch with every aspect of your organization. Make sure people have ways to question strategies and actions at dedicated time and place.
- Practice in some shape or form continuously articulating to new hires the ethical commitment
- Your job as founder is also to weed out people who will cost you your reputation because of bad behaviors such as sexually harassing people. Sure in the beginning you might not be too concern but the fact remains you must minimize the damage before ….even if you are the unethical asshole holding back the company. So weed them out before they can do damage to you in the future.
- We all can’t see everything that takes place in and outside our senses so we develop blindness about anything that has no positive reward. The reality is if you form family like environment people are less likely to stray because of social pressure.
- What are the commitment level of you and others to each-other. Are there signs of distractions or unfocused?
- As you grow personally and in business the stakes become higher so keep growing.
- If your leadership examples are mix signals then expect your staff, vc, and others to use similar tactics.
- No business journey is entirely different from the millions of others before you so learn from the past success, failures of other asshole founders and individuals.
- Know your ass. Know your limits and flaws. Know when you no longer need to be in the driving seat. A business too dependent on you alone for moral guidance is a business destined to fail in the future.
- Your business character and value are set and lead by you so watch your actions and speech.
- Be careful of being in a bubble or the bubble of others. There are stories of VCs who dominate boards so they push their agenda while disregarding whats best for the company.
- So make sure you also have people around you that are not too close to the business so that you can get different perspective.
- Do everything you can to start with diverse team mates.If everyone looks, think, acts, etc like you, you are going to have too many blindsides. You want your hires outside your social circle to be welcomed easily and comfortably. Everyone wants to belong and be treated with the respect. Be fairly engaged and supported. So i suggest you get out there and to get to know others.
It’s time consuming to recruit and keep talent so why not stop making it harder for your company. Stop being a nightmare asshole founder.
Harassment and Violence
Make sure to remind people that your company will not tolerate sexual or psychological harassment or any form of harassment in the workplace. [Sexual harassment may include sexual advances, innuendoes, offensive propositions or any other form of sexual jokes or behavior with a sexual connotation likely to attack a person’s dignity or physical or psychological well-being.
Your company will not tolerate, for example, threats, intimidation, bullying or unwarranted exclusion as well as violence of any kind.
You must report any such behavior to senior management or a non-participating third party that will speak up.
Drugs, Alcohol and Guns
If you want to keep a legal job, all that stuff don’t mix well with a legal responsible job. Ask yourself do you enjoy the idea of wondering if your uber driver is packing a gun or has being drinking or doing weed…
No one wants the consumption, sale, distribution, possession, manufacture, transport and promotion of illegal drugs and alcohol or accessories on the job or near their place of work. It brings a dark side to doing legal business.
You do that shit where no one gets hurt and far from…
Don’t give a fuck what your political views are, your skin, your religion…founders should up hold universal values that respect human rights and equality in social and employment matters.
- Will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, gender, ethnic origin, religious belief or sexual orientation, or on any other characteristic protected by law.
- The use of inappropriate language in the workplace including swearing, vulgarity or verbal abuse when used in a hateful or inappropriate way is unacceptable.
- As well, the posting of photographs or any other printed material of a discriminatory, inappropriate nature in the workplace is unacceptable.
- While anyone who works for you has rights to freedom of expression online and offline they should do so on basis of universal values.
Politics & Political Activities
Founders and Employees are free to join in the political process as candidates, campaign directors, heads of fundraising activities or volunteers. They must, however,ensure that their involvement is set apart from their responsibilities as associates of the Company.
- They must also ensure that any declaration made as a private citizen in the course of their political activities is strictly personal and cannot be interpreted as representing the opinion of the Company.
- They cannot promote parties or political programs on Company property and the use of Company property such as servers, photocopiers, billboards or other for political purposes is prohibited.
- A contribution or support of a political party by the Company must be approved by management and the Legal department. And must be carefully weighed against the universal values which the company stands by.
- Political ideologies and discussions are welcomed as long as they are not a threat to human rights or UN human rights standards.
Federal Laws, Local Laws & Norms
- As founder of your company you will be expected to educate yourself of the laws and regulations.
- Try to comply or seek revision if necessary through designated process within the countries where you conduct business.
- In the event the laws or customs of a locality come into conflict with the present Code or with your head quarters country laws, you must inform or engage legal advisers and lawyers and experts for best approach.
Your Social Responsibility
- As a founder you have social responsibility to your community, region, country, and international community. You don’t have to spend fortunes to do this. It’s just simple things that keep you in check for the long term.
- The Company should encourage investment in volunteer work, charities, and diverse positive community events that uphold universal values.
- It is up to your startup and your organizations to take a leadership role in their concerns. You may not agree with everything however being involve is a great step.
When Not Sure What To Do With Ethical Concerns?
When in doubt on what to do consult others you trust from multiple areas of the company and others outside the company.
Information & Confidentiality
You are not obligated to disclose all material information relating to the business and affairs your Company is involve in or plans to if you are a private company. Keep in mind that everything today is almost driven by strong desire for transparency.
There are some information you might want to disclose to your stakeholders:
- Changes in the corporate structure of the Company (such as changes in share ownership that may affect control)
- Changes in capital structure (such as the sale or repurchase of securities, stock splits and changes in dividend policies)
- Changes in business and operations (such as significant new products, major labor disputes and material legal proceedings)
- Significant acquisitions and dispositions
- Large loans, changes in credit arrangements and changes in rating agency decisions, including downgrades
- Conclusion or loss of important contracts
- The examples described above are not exhaustive and are not a substitute for the Company exercising its own judgment in making material determinations.
- Be very careful with forward-looking information without a disclaimer or FYI in the nature of the information. Such as stating we are in the exploring phrase or P.O.C stage. or “It is the Company’s policy not to provide forward-looking information.”
- Should the Company elect to disclose forward-looking information can be guidelines.
- The information, if deemed material, will be widely distributed via a press release in accordance with this disclosure policy.
- The information will be clearly identified as forward-looking.
- The Company will identify all material assumptions used in the preparation of the forward-looking information.
- The information will be accompanied by a statement that identifies, in very specific terms, the risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results to differ materially from those projected in the statement.
- The information will be accompanied by a statement that disclaims the Company’s intention or obligation to update or revise the forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Competition & Competitors
Having relations with your competitors can be a good thing if done appropriately and can go horribly wrong if not considering the laws. As a general rule suggests that … forbids contracts, combinations, conspiracies, agreements and other arrangements which have the effect of limiting and restricting competition.
When communicating with competitors, you must avoid any discussion or agreement with them on the following subjects:
[Prices and price-related subjects such as rebates, discounts, payment terms or shipment terms must never be discussed with competitors. You must also avoid any discussion on subjects directly related to prices such as costs, details on production levels, inventory levels, etc.]
Allocation of markets and customers
[Any agreement among competitors aiming at splitting the market either through customers, geographic territory or product lines is illegal.]
Refusal or boycotting
[Generally speaking, the kind of transactions and business a company wishes to do is its choice. Nevertheless, a company must not make agreements with other companies, especially with competitors, with the intention to refuse to do business with a customer or a group of customers.]
[Reference is made here to a company working on its own and occupying a dominant position in the market or together with competitors that establishes and maintains an unreasonably low price policy with the intention of eliminating or reducing competition. Any attempts in this regard, introduced through unreasonably low prices (prices lower than variable cost), can be considered illegal.]
[“Bid-rigging” means: (a) an agreement or arrangement between or among two or more persons whereby one or more of those persons agrees or undertakes not to submit a bid in response to a call or request for bids or tenders, or (b) the submission, in response to a call or request for bids or tenders, of bids or tenders that are arrived at by agreement or arrangement between or among two or more bidders or tenderers, where the agreement or arrangement is not made known to the person calling for or requesting the bids or tenders at or before the time when any bid or tender is made by any person who is a party to the agreement or arrangement.]
[The participation in trade associations is an activity that is perfectly legitimate insofar as the association is not used for the purpose of limiting or eliminating competition. Since participating in trade associations provides the opportunity of openly communicating with competitors, it is extremely important to be vigilant in order to avoid any activity that could give rise to an illegal act as described above or that could give the appearance of such an illegal practice.]
Regarding Customers, Clients, & Civilians
Relations with customers
[Generally, you must behave in a fair and equitable manner towards all customers, regardless of their size.]
Discrimination on prices
[It is illegal to discriminate among customers:
- By imposing different prices to competing customers who purchase products of alike quality in similar quantity
- By offering certain customers discounts, rebates or other price concessions that are not offered to the other customers
- By offering certain customers market-setting services, promotional trade discounts, advertising payments or any other assistance that is not offered on a proportional and equal basis to competing customers
- When this discrimination has the effect of harming the other customers and competitors in general.]
Maintenance of prices
[As a product supplier, it is forbidden to control, in any way, the price asked by its own customers. Furthermore, a supplier cannot refuse to supply a product to a customer or establish a distinction against a customer on the grounds of this customer’s low price policy.]
[As a condition for supplying a product, a company cannot require that a customer purchase another product of the company or that this customer refrain from selling another product that is not a brand of or manufactured by the company in question if the competition is probably and noticeably reduced as a result.]
General Health & Safety
[Respect is what we value most in our Company. It is at the very heart of our philosophy. Our commitment to protect the health and safety of all members of our organization is in keeping with this value. We must expend every effort to provide a workplace that is productive, secure and that will enable our human resources to remain healthy, both physically and mentally. ]
We commit to, namely:
- Abide by the rules and regulations that ensure the safety of our employees, and even go over and above the requirements in order to reach our goals for good health and a sense of well-being
- Develop, promote and assess the activities that identify, eliminate or control the inherent risks of accidents or illness
- Develop and implement the necessary management systems required to reach a high level of performance and prevention
- Require that people be proactive with regards to health and safety in the workplace
- Train and inform employees so that they may carry out their tasks securely and also provide the necessary help and monitoring
- Get the employees involved in preventive measures
Use of Technology
[The purpose of electronic communication tools is to improve efficiency in communications between employees and the different units. The Electronic Communication System (the “System”) includes the material, network, software, data, information and any documents contained therein.]
The following activities linked to the System are prohibited at all times:
- Modification of the configuration of the workstation; the computer which has been made available to Users has been configured to be compatible with the companies telecommunication network.
- Insertion, storage, use or communication of data or information that could be considered: defamatory or fraudulent; obscene, sexually explicit, hate literature or a violation of any policy on sexual or psychological harassment or any applicable laws in the field of human rights; or that are, in any way, illegal or inappropriate. will not be tolerated.
- Personal use of the system should be exceptional; it should not impede the Company’s activities, or include commercial or business activities other than Company business. Specifically, access to Internet via the System should be exclusively for business purposes and accessed through the predetermined gateways of the telecommunication network. Any employee accessing Internet sites of sexual nature, not work related via the System will be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including employment termination.
- Storage of digital documents. Each user must ensure that all saved electronic documents are pertinent and identified, filed and tagged correctly. Documents whose safekeeping is no longer required must be deleted and trash emptied on a regular basis. Or in some cases securely-permanently deleted from storage.
- System confidentiality. The Company could / or may actively monitor the use of the system or the contents of private email messages, downloads, browser history, messages on the system or on it’s property, this will done according to applicable laws.
- The granting of access to a person to a system, desktop, equipment, server to an unauthorized person must be prevented.
- Proprietary information. All documents, data and information contained on the system or are registered to the company through a third party like a cloud service provider are the exclusive property of the Company
- Any violation of the digital usage and system usage policy could result in disciplinary action on the part of the Company, including a written warning, suspension or termination.
- Any requests and questions should be brought to the IT personnel and / or department.
Any complaint should follow simple steps and bring it up with IT or leadership or to a credible non participating party with neutral interest. An impartial person or institution with great confidentiality.
Procedure and recourse mechanism
- The person who believes to be harassed as well as the person presumed responsible for the harassment are treated with impartiality.
- Will take disciplinary or administrative measures against a person whose complaint is ill-willed or of bad faith
- It is important that evaluation and update frequency be set into all policy, code-of-conduct, rules, etc as well as the derived procedures, must be the object of review.
HOW TO WRITE IT & LIVE IT EVERYDAY
Hey founders, you are welcome to use this as your startups code of conduct or you are welcome to go through the process of creating one for your startup or growing company. Some of the content below were inspired by another source which we indicate with a “[” & “]” symbol which means it was written by a different author.
Set a time and a date to get together
[Make sure you have a whiteboard or poster paper and Post-its. For 5–10 people, I recommend making two sessions of half a day each available.]
Sit down and come up with your company’s top values
[If you already have a set of values you feel good about, great. If you don’t, or want to expand yours:
- Give people three minutes to individually brainstorm values that are important to them and the company. One Post-it, one value.
- Put the Post-its up on the board and combine the ones that overlap.
- Discuss, rearrange, and rewrite, until you have 5–7 top values that everyone agrees make sense for the company’s mission and ethos. ]
Translate values into behaviors
[Repeat the values brainstorming exercise, but instead, prompt people with two questions:
- What are the specific behaviors we want to encourage in our work together? What behaviors best embody our values?
- What are specific behaviors we want to discourage, because they go against our values?
[Be as specific as possible in this exercise, so that you can see how your daily interactions reflect your values and where there needs to be more alignment. We ended this exercise by mapping the behaviors to the company values to see if we missed a value and to ensure the behaviors and values line up.]
Write your code of conduct
[Ok, here’s where you take all the brainstorming you’ve done and synthesize it into something extremely useful. A code of conduct can be many things to many companies, but we see our document as follows:
- A code of conduct describes the steps we will take to restore our company values when someone violates them — so that all team members can feel safe, joyous, and able to express themselves authentically at work.
- Your process in writing your actual code of conduct will be unique, but here are the main questions we addressed in our conversation:
- How do we define harassment?
- How should team members communicate with each other when harassment or microaggressions occur? How should we track or report any violations?
- What should a team member do if they want immediate action on a serious offense?
- Who has the power to decide that something is a fireable offense?
- What happens if the founder is the one committing harassment or disrupting the values of the team?
Essentially, we came up with a system in which team members who experience microaggressions can resolve their issues one-on-one, or reach out to a dedicated email monitored by a member of our team to ask a peer, supervisor, or founder to become involved.
The goal of the process is for the person with a complaint to feel understood and to get a commitment from the person who committed a microaggression to change their behavior.
In the case of serious offenses that require immediate attention, we have a second dedicated email that will alert me (the founder) that action is needed within 48 hours. Having this expectation — if you contact that email, you will get a response swiftly — is critical to building a culture of trust and safety. In too many workplaces, a response from higher-ups comes too slowly to communicate any sort of respect or care for an employee’s concerns.]
Beef up your welcome letter, too
[The welcome letter to your new hires is where you can share with people all of the other valuable parts of your brainstorming — such as behaviors you want to encourage & discourage — that didn’t necessarily fit in the more discipline-oriented code of conduct. Here’s ours.
Here’s the outline of what a welcome letter could look like:
- Who you are and your mission.
- Top behaviors you welcome & don’t welcome in your workplace.
- Benefits & accommodations.
- How your team works — all the typical set-up stuff.
- Where to find the code of conduct & who to email to get help addressing a microaggression by a colleague, or to get immediate assistance from the founder.
- We are excited to use our welcome letter to be inclusive to all of our employees. For example, we intend to ask new hires to let us know if they need a breast/chestfeeding room in our workspace, if they would prefer single-occupancy bathrooms, if they need accommodations for chronic illness, and more.
The welcome letter is an especially great place to let new hires know that your culture is ready to take care of their needs — even if no one on the team they are joining has those needs yet.
Put your values, code of conduct, and benefits out into the open — especially to potential hires
You’ve done all this work to generate some truly useful processes — don’t keep them a secret!
Having a clear code of conduct can increase the chance that someone who doesn’t look like all of the other people on your team will feel welcome, safe, and want to work for you.
You don’t want to miss out on that kick-ass woman of color engineer, your potential queer designer, or the best chief of finance you’ll ever have (who also has a disability) because they look at you and see your office as a daily test in pretending that joke wasn’t actually offensive.
Rinse and repeat: reassess your code of conduct on a regular basis
[While the underlying values will stay the same, of course, we know that some processes will change if our team grows dramatically.]
We plan to assess what is working and not working about our code of conduct on a semi-annual basis. While the underlying values will stay the same, of course, we know that some processes will change if our team grows dramatically.
To All You Founders
You can just take this eBook or content and use it to guide you until you have the time to prepare your own rules. Don’t wait and remember.
[“When the 20th-century sociologist James Chowning Davies studied the political convulsions of France and 20th-century Russia, he observed that the conditions for revolution are ripest “when a prolonged period of economic and social development is followed by a short period of sharp reversal.” These revolutions occurred, he said, when a large group of people felt that reality had suddenly fallen short of their expectations for social or economic development.”]Do want a revolution?
ETHICS CAN BE ALL BULLSHIT IF YOU’RE NOT THE ONE IN CHARGE
[Breaking the rules makes you a Silicon Valley hero. That’s great if you’re breaking a dumb rule, not so much if you’re breaking an important one. Startup mythology is packed with stories of That Time Steve Jobs the Genius Did Whatever It Took to Win, and That Time in the 1990s that Larry Ellison the Badass Calculated Revenue the Way He Damn Well Pleased. Today’s founders cite Airbnb’s famous “farming” strategy (it spammed people advertising rentals on Craigslist to lure them to Airbnb). They speak breathlessly about how “T.K.”—Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick—has repeatedly ignored legal roadblocks. Admirers see an aggressive attitude and a $70 billion valuation, ignoring Uber’s careful, behind-the-scenes negotiations with regulators in many cities, notes Bradley Tusk, a political consultant for Uber.]
[“By definition, entrepreneurship requires promoting the heck out of things that don’t exist yet. Even a founder with a strong moral compass and a heart full of good intentions has to persuade investors, engineers, and customers to believe in a future where their totally made-up idea will be real. “That’s not ‘My cola tastes better than yours.’ That’s ‘Let me explain to you how the world’s going to be.’ ” says Chris Bulger, managing director at Bulger Partners, an investment bank that advises technology companies on acquisitions. “Is that person lying when they turn out to be wrong?”]
[At its worst, venture capital culture can push founders across that line. To understand VC incentives, flip everything you know about business on its head. Squishy terms like “traction” and “momentum” are more valuable than functional business models, revenue, and profits. But that’s all part of the fun! Venture is high risk, high reward. Wouldn’t you rather play the lottery than toil away for a boring little paycheck for the rest of your boring little life?]
[“Once the fire is roaring, nobody wants to put it out. While some startups are transparent with their investors—and some investors demand it— the hottest companies have enough leverage to keep inconvenient numbers under wraps. The rich people buying into Uber’s latest round of funding, for example, got no financial information beyond a set of risk factors, according to reports. Likewise, the media feeds on self-reported scraps of information—dubious “annual recurring revenue” here, a growth percentage (from what base?) there. If that sounds familiar, recall the 2000s housing bubble, when Americans reported their incomes on mortgage applications with no outside verification. No surprise, they took liberties. Startup financial disclosures are the “liar loans” of corporate accounting.”]
It’s easy to shrug off a startup that pushes ethical boundaries a smidgen too far when it’s just a few people and an idea. We assume it will iron things out before it gets big enough to cause real problems. But in the so-called Age of Unicorns, startups can go from zero to $1 billion in valuation in the blink of an eye. And that hype can help them quickly rack up customers, vendors, and employees—all of whom are vulnerable if something melts down. We can’t assume that a billion-dollar valuation is a sign of maturity.so where do you draw the lines?
FOUNDERS LIVING FOR MORE THAN MONEY & SHIT
For founders who live for money, power, sex, be careful about what you sacrifice for your dreams. Everyone always say you have to make sacrifices to achieve goals but the question is which ones. Life is too short to wake up to having everything and yet be fucking miserable.
- Some of you enjoy making money by doing ruthless and unethical things. It’s important to develop a clear conscious set of values that guide your decisions.
- The people who truly understand the value of money, time, and family are likely to enjoy their blessings. Than people who never show appreciation for their blessings.
- The founders who practice a give and take approach usually are happier in life
- Be aware of people who just selfishly take, hoard resources,
- Quality of life is not just when you are building your company. It’s also enjoying your old age. Know what you’re getting yourself into before taking on a founder life.
- Do you take time to enjoy the moments?
Stop trying to be other people and be you and also adopt good habits.
WAYS TO LIVE MORE WITH LESS
There’s never a day where peers, society will pressure you to eat more, spend more, work more, skim more, and we all do it & walk around depress-overweight-tired-frustrated by the never ending grind.
The following pointers are for you if you want to give more, worry less, love more, travel more, socialize more, creating better legacy, happy relationship, healthy, happier.
As founders, entrepreneurs you don’t have to deprive yourself of those things.
- Know Where You Draw the Line. You have to set the line what you are not going to jeopardize for money power, fame, lust.
- Learn To Say Yes or No. There are many tactics to improve your impulses resistance so I’d suggest you look into that. Because your overweight problems is not your wife’s problem it’s your problem and you are responsible for it. Tell yourself yes and no when needed.
- Money Can’t Buy Some Shit. There are things money can’t buy. If you spend less on expensive depreciateable goods, you might have more money. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones. Think life time financial freedom.
- Live, Create Moments. Life is too short not to be creating healthy moments and also enjoy the moments. Enjoy the simplest things like taking a shower, the air you breath.
- Be Grateful For What You Have. What you like a really expensive sports car can be a prison in someways because the upkeep will keep eating at you.
- There’s Good Debt and Bad Debt. Debt and financial stress is not fun. It can make you miserable when you even have a good paying job. So learn the difference so you can be smarter.
- Love Yourself & Write
- Take the time to feed your mind, body, and soul some fucking good shit. Well not literally. Basically don’t be afraid take care of yourself first within reason before you make yourself available to others. And do some regular reflecting by writing, blogging, podcasting, audio recordings, video recordings, etc.
BIG TAKE AWAY FOR ASSHOLES
IF YOU ARE TAKING ACTION TO BETTER YOURSELF & YOUR COMPANY, THEN CONSIDER THESE 50 QUICK PRINCIPLES
1) Passing your responsibilities due to laziness or indifference is bad
2) Slacking off when no one is watching is bad
3) Lying to hide your colleagues’ mistakes is bad
4) Taking credit for other colleagues’ work is bad
5) Pulling a sick day when not sick just to avoid a crucial deadline is bad
6) Lying about skills and experience is bad
7) Taking shortcuts or doing shoddy work is bad
8) Lying to hide mistakes is bad
9) Badmouthing colleagues is bad
10) Don’t make it unsafe to speak up
11) Using bull shit to justify your abuse of power, privilege, access, etc
12) You’re responsible for your words and actions and you might be held accountable for them
13) Use your action and words to aid productivity
14) Be thoughtful about making statements that could cause others to make incorrect assumptions
15) Respect the user, respect the opportunity, respect each other
16) Make sure it’s a safe, productive, and inclusive environment for everyone
17) Having disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story does not.
18) Try to avoid conversations that are disruptive to the workplace
19) Quickly address discussions that that are just counter-productive
20) Avoid making people feel they don’t belong or have no place here
21) Try to avoid insulting, demeaning, or humiliating anyone in public or in private
22) Treat the data provided by clients with great care and respect
23) Avoid accessing, disclosing, or stealing confidential information or breach data security
24) “Too cold, too hot, too late” can not always be the excuses to those who do not want to work.
25) Assume your chances are one shots and make the most of it
26) Remember If you have a good work ethic and a great attitude, very little will stand in your way.
27) Always having excuses for everything is just going to attract bad things not good things
28) You can’t win in life without facing some challenges along the way
29) Don’t deny yourself the joy of the journey of a thousand miles
30) Grateful for your work as long it is serving the good of your community, your fellow man.
31) See to it to work with compassion
32) Be careful of personal pride or company pride – once Blackberry was the hottest thing
33) Remember to be calm, and not to obsess too much about the positives or negatives of life
34) If you put in greatness, you are bound to get great moments of success, as well as great moments of failures
35) It is your self-discovery
36) Every person shoulders the weight of responsibility to do good so do good everyday
37) Do not dwell in the past, do not get lost into the future
38) Always take the time to concentrate on living in the moments
39) Remember to not cling too much to people or things cause you can only lose what you cling to
40) Reminder to embrace change
41) Be careful of getting too attached to the old way
42) Keep adapting and keep going
43) Or another way to put it. Take it, Leave it, or Change it
44) When you concentrate on the small things, the big things fall into place
45) Service motive should be preferred rather than profit motive
46) There should not be any discrimination as to the rich, the poor, the high status, the low status, the religion etc. against any particular group of people
47) Top satisfaction should be available to clients
48) Uphold a healthy and clean environment when possible
49) Scarce resources should not be wasted
50) Don’t make promises that will not be fulfilled
I strongly recommend reading about Ethics in business and society some more, and get a trusted person or organization to help you navigate the world of ethics. The benefits are great if you use the right approaches to experiment, test, and establish standards.
I, Manny, and the BJ Mannyst + GreatestFounders.com team hope this has been helpful for non-tech business owners, freelancers, professionals, tech founders, or just people still exploring their startups ethical guidelines.
It’s not rocket science however it is not as simple as putting on pants. Anyone with relevant thoughts and opinions are welcome to engage myself or our team. In terms of general marketing I and the BJ Mannyst team can help your small medium service business/ freelancing business.
NEED HELP WITH YOUR SERVICE BUSINESS MARKETING? CONTACT BJ MANNYST