I like Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto. I think a huge problem with large companies is that their core values are distorted. People who work there then make decisions reflecting those core values (provide vallue to shareholders, for example).

If I ever start a company, my 4 rules for the company will be something like: (inspired by Asimov’s robot rules)

Rule 1. Don’t be evil.

Rule 2. Make a positive difference in the world, unless it means violating rule 1.

Rule 3. Survive and grow as a company, unless it means violating rule 1 or 2.

Rule 4. Treat employees well, unless it means violating rule 1, 2 or 3.

These rules say: If you can make a positive difference by being evil, don’t do it. If treating employees well endangers survival of the company, and you’re making a positive difference and not being evil, don’t treat them so well. If you can survive as a company and you’re not being evil, but you’re not making a positive difference in the world, don’t bother. Find something else to do.

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