The tech world is known for its intense competition and its dog eat dog culture. By its nature, if IP isnt protected its useless. Relationships and switching costs may mitigate some of that but the end result is an extremely competitive landscape. That is what makes Tech exciting and Silicon Valley the epicenter of this excitement.
Its important and probably challenging to remain cutthroat and remain a good natured person. Most people probably can’t seperate the two. An person who seemed to have lived this dichotomy was recently taken way too early from the world, Mr. Dave Goldberg (The Ultimate Mensch). By the massive outpouring of grief, it is evident that many people were touched by and benefited from him.
That aspect of a person, the ability to spread goodness, is whats most important as evidenced by ones legacy. By contrast, Steve Jobs left the world with great technology but as a person his memory is tarred by his ruthlessness.
Another example, in my opinion, of a world class example of positivity was the signing of the multi-billion dollar deal papers at the Welfare office by former recipient Jan Koum. My interpretation of this is firstly a clear message to people that the American Dream is alive and well. More importantly it shows a deep level of gratitude. When Mr. Koum was in this country as an immigrant, the United States government provided him with basic neccessaties and provided basic levels of care to him and his family as he got on his feet, something not forgotten. His success shines bright when put into perspective of the obstacles he overcame. That is not to take away from similar successful entrepreneurs such as Evan Spiegel who had less challenges in this area.
Lastly, does being a mensch, being grateful, being kind detract from ones ability to do business? In terms of company culture, Jack Welch always says its the people who make a firm successful or not. By fostering goodness in a firm, it solidifies team building and gives people confidence in themselves as well as others. Under Mr. Welch, when GE would terminate a persons employment, they would make sure to get them another job. The reason would be to show all the remaining employees that GE takes care of its own. That is important in maintaining confidence and cohesion.
Instead of a mantra of “Don’t Be Evil”, I believe it should be “Do Good”.