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Monday, April 8, 2019

Mark Zuckerberg And The Tech World Still Do Not Understand Ethics

Derek Lidow
Originally posted March 11, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

Expectations for technology startups encourage expedient, not ethical, decision making. 

As people in the industry are fond of saying, the tech world moves at “lightspeed.” That includes the pace of innovation, the rise and fall of markets, the speed of customer adoption, the evolution of business models and the lifecycles of companies. Decisions must be made quickly and leaders too often choose the most expedient path regardless of whether it is safe, legal or ethical.

 This “move fast and break things” ethos is embodied in practices like working toward a minimum viable product (MVP), helping to establish a bias toward cutting corners. In addition, many founders look for CFOs who are “tech trained—that is, people accustomed to a world where time and money wait for no one—as opposed to a seasoned financial officer with good accounting chops and a moral compass.

The host of scandals at Zenefits, a cloud-based provider of employee-benefits software to small businesses and once one of the most promising of Silicon Valley startups, had their origins in the shortcuts the company took in order to meet unreasonably high expectations for growth. The founder apparently created software that helped employees cheat on California’s online broker license course. As the company expanded rapidly, it began hiring people with little experience in the highly regulated health insurance industry. As the company moved from small businesses to larger businesses, the strain on it software increased. Instead of developing appropriate software, the company hired more people to manually take up the slack where the existing software failed. When the founder was asked by an interviewer before the scandals why he was so intent on expanding so rapidly he replied, “Slowing down doesn’t feel like something I want to do.”

The info is here.