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Indie Hackers thinking about Ethics?

Throughout growing our company, we've seen more and more a need to make ethical decisions that sometimes conflict with what naively might seem good for the company with what we feel like is right and correct.

How do y'all make these decisions / evaluate these options?

I'd be curious if there's interest or demand in a community to discuss some of these elements.

  1. 5

    I moved to the Ethics group. :)

    I built my previous business on trying to make the right decisions. It's harder in some ways, easier in others.

    When people see you are doing the right thing then it is almost like it attracts more attention, customers and staff. I think it is starting to become more mainstream now, but maybe I live in a bit of a bubble.

    1. 2

      I think you are on the money. Doing the right thing is a great strategy IMHO :)

  2. 2

    I'm a little late here but love that you're asking this question. We've struggled with this a lot. Especially when it's a question of what is ethical. I think / hope most folks don't want to cheat their customers. But there's a lot of grey area, and operating in the grey can lead to good results, at least in the short-term.

    We've made a few decisions over the years that we felt represented a better "ethical" decision that cost us several hundred thousand dollars. I'm not sure most customers would even care, but our team did.

    Overall, we're trying to build a culture of encouraging employees to speak up if they feel like something is unethical or goes against our values hoping that we can have the discussion even if we don't make the change since everyone's lens is a little different.

  3. 2

    Our startup Plausible Analytics is in the privacy-focused, ethical and open source space so it's natural for us to do everything with ethics in mind too.

    This includes the way we communicate (clear, upfront, direct, no tricks), the way we run the business (all in the open including stats and development roadmap so people can see that our actions follow our words which is important in the privacy space) and the way we promote the startup too (we don't use any third-party pixels, retargeting and any of the paid advertising based on private data and such that many people are against). I wrote a little but more about all the marketing strategies we say no to here: https://plausible.io/blog/startup-marketing

    I think these two things can co-exist: making more ethical decisions (putting your customers or say the planet first or doing the right thing) while at the same time have a successful business. I don't think it's necessary to do things you believe are not right just because someone else does it or because it is expected.

    I feel that the trend is growing towards more startups and entrepreneurs trying to make better decisions. You see it with all the startups based on privacy as a response to the current state of the web (there are now more ethical analytics, more ethical search engines, more ethical email providers and so on and on...) to all the products focused on climate change and the environment (organic, plastic-free, recycled etc).

    We all can help make a little bit of a difference. I hope it continues and becomes even more popular!

  4. 1

    I studied ethics in college.

  5. 1

    It's simple and cliche, but I generally try to imagine I'm in the position of the other person and ask what I'd want. Not in the moment but what future me would have wanted to have been done.

    Treat other people as well as you would your future self.

  6. 1

    The most important idea in all of ethics is Kant's Categorical Imperative. If you can become fully conscious of that, it will guide you well in all areas of life. The short version is this:

    only do that which you can wish to become a universal. AKA, only do that which you wish others would do to you, and to other people, in the same circumstance... for eternity.

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