Altruism is in. That’s a good thing. Thankfully, an increasing number of companies out there are really trying hard to conduct business in an ethical manner. But at the same time, hypocrisy is rampant. Claim one thing, do another. Enron’s motto said it all… “Respect, Integrity, Communication and Excellence.” Blah, blah, blah. It’s almost like one of those scary clown paintings. There’s something palpable under the innocuous image that’s kind of terrifying. Think John Wayne Gacy.
Since this is a kind of follow-up to our original piracy post (it’s a vast topic), let us then ask the question: In a world in which parasitic megalomaniacs at the top, like Bernie Madoff, Enron and Goldman Sucks, seem to be able to plunder at will, how do you – if you’re trying to do legitimate business on the web – minimize being plundered from the bottom?
Sure, there will always be a small, hardcore and amoral criminal element present in society. Only a powerful cocktail of therapy and prison time can possibly fix that. But we, here at Diesel, are eternal optimists. Call us idealistic if you’d like, but it’s true – we believe in the inherent virtues of the human race. And we’re not embarrassed to say it. So, once again, if you snorkel a little below the surface to examine the history of the pirates of yesteryear, you’ll discover that all is not as we’ve been led to believe.
According to the historical record, you certainly had plenty of outright savages engaged in worldwide orgies of thievery, out there. But as far as the archetypal pirate of the seventeenth century goes, the reality is a bit more complex. The British crown, for instance, did all it could to perpetuate the image of the pirate as bloodthirsty monster, when in truth, many of those who took to the seas were just reacting to the unfair and devastating business practices of the empire. They were rebelling against a specific type of suffocating authority that had institutionalized its own particular brand of lawlessness – and they demonstrated it through mutiny. In fact, many pirate ships were comprised of egalitarian, multi-racial micro cultures – a model which was diametrically opposed to the brutal conditions that existed on the decks of Royal Navy ships and that was, dare we say it, far more evolved.
What we’re trying to express here is that we think it’s high time to prod the big guns of the eMarketing world to make a commitment to business practices in which the customer, and not greed, comes first. Now that illegal downloading is so widespread, why encourage it further through reactionary, draconian DRM practices that, in the end, will only make matters worse? Be sensible and righteous and we believe you’ll find that the vast majority of consumers out there won’t turn to wearing an eye patch. They’ll react positively in kind.
Unlike the recent “genius” decision of the Agency 5, who may have thrown out the baby with the bath water when they decided to sever established relationships (with retailers and customers alike) just to be on the latest flavor of the month gadget, here’s an example that illustrates the point well. Presenting, The Rock Bottom Remainders. A “literary rock band” made up of über successful authors like Sephen King, Matt Groening and Amy Tan (who knew?), the group is currently headlining a tour they call “WordStock.” As their website explains: “Proceeds from the Wordstock Tour support the efforts to help schools and children in earthquake devastated Haiti. The Pearson Foundation and We Give Books will also donate thousands of books to schools and libraries in the tour cities based on ticket purchases.”
We realize this falls in the philanthropic category more than anything, but in our opinion, it still sets an exemplary tone for our industry.
Bottom line – don’t be some sinister version of Bozo. Don’t be evil…for real. Mean it. Forget the posturing and actually do something that brings added value to someone’s life, in an ethical way. We like to think that we live and die by that ideal, here on the good ship Diesel.
That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.