What do you believe?

Do you believe that in business, the ends justify the means?

So your hotel room had a Bible?


All hotel rooms have a bible but no, I watched a documentary last night when I got in regarding business and ethics and I was curious what our community thought.

@ Gary - never

Of course, the answer is “it depends”… We have to remember that business is more like playing a game than having a personal relationship. In a game, it’s sometimes OK to “cheat” in order to win as long as you do so within the boundary of the rules. It’s the same way with business. For example, it is not OK to perform sabotage or other illegal activities. However, if my competitor’s primary advantage is that he has a superstar employee and I’m willing to pay that employee more to lure him over to my team. Then that’s perfectly within the rules. Even if it causes the other team to go out of business and cause dozens of other people to be put out of work.

Probably depends on the means. But I’ve left jobs where what I was being asked to do conflicted with my moral and ethical beliefs. There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed.

Especially embracing Linux (I kid, I kid…).

I’ve left for exactly this reason. I used to work for Kevin Trudeau, quit about 8 months before he went to prison.

@ Skewworks - not very similar but I quit my job because I wanted to use ARM processors and they didn’t want to redo their software from 8-bit to the awesome ARM7! So I quit then and used ARM on everything :wall:

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and here we are 13 years later! ;D

I’m with ya.

And we’re grateful you did Gus!

The ends justify the means ONLY if everything was done ethically. A single bad action to result in a supposed positive outcome brings that outcome into question. E.g. Let’s say you have your business partner killed because they were embezzling. One might say that action is justified for the survival of the company, and as far as the tax man is concerned it’s OK by them. However, that guilt will haunt you and the company until the end. If the day comes where the company is under pressure from competitors or some other strong external force, the guilt of the previous actions will convince you that the reason why you’re under pressure now is BECAUSE of the act that was done so many years ago. This will erode your willingness to fight the situation and overcome it, eventually resulting in the demise of the company… and everyone that hears the story will say “what goes around comes around”.

Alternatively, if you had just left that company and started anew, this new company would have be started knowing that the founders took the high road and they would be proud of what was accomplished. So that in the day when the pressure comes, you will fight tooth and nail against it, eventually overcoming it (or not, who knows).

@ Mr. John Smith - Hmm…would hope there’s some middle ground between…have a guy killed or leave. :slight_smile:

Remind me not to go into business with you. Too risky. :wink:

@ devhammer - remember, the middle ground between “correct” and “incorrect” is still “incorrect”.

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Well it’s an extreme example, but yes I too would hope there is a middle ground (like sell the house you built with our kickstarter money or else!

The ends are certainly justified by the means. “The end is that we lost all of our customers and no one trusts us any more.” “The end is that our CEO is in prison.” “The end is that a great employee, Gus, is no longer with us.” The ends to justify the means - you need to determine the actual end consequences. “We took employee benefits to increase the appearance of short term profit and the stock took a temporary bump in price - but the end was that we lost all of our top developers.” I think it is more accurate to say that the means do justify the ends - the actions justify the consequences.

I once worked on a project where the CEO sold a bunch of work to IBM. We took payment and cashed the check. A big check. He told us not to bother building the product. He spent the money making other clearly unethical deals and the company grew quickly. But that wasn’t the end. Three years later, the new VP of engineering called me into his office. “Bob, I just got a call from IBM.” “Was it about that project they paid for and we never worked on?” “Yep. You know about this? This really happened? Explain this to me.” The end was after that and was clearly justified by the means.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

@ Mr. John Smith - One would hope so, but let’s not forget that certain companies, [em]not least one that around here can do no wrong,[/em] have made some extremely questionable business decisions, and have prospered in spite of (or indeed because of) them.

Don’t fall into that trap. You can succeed in business without giving up your ethics, and your success will be all the more satisfying because of it.

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Ah, but what about the middle ground between HIGH and LOW. Sometimes, the answer there is “it depends.” :smiley:

@ devhammer - depends on how many decoupling caps you included, and how much noise is being generated by your SMPS :slight_smile:

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