The Greed and the Startup
Yesterday I was watching a documentary which really got me thinking about on how our economy is based. Honestly, I don't remember the name of it but it as on Dutch television and it had a lot of fair points in there.
It was about the main purpose of a company to make as much a profit possible for the shareholders and how unsustainable this actually is.
The whole world at this moment is taking their economical beating because of the Covid crisis. But there are very different ways to deal with this in the end and what kind of company you want it to be.
The most driven example that was used was Booking.com. You know, our favorite booking website which is wellknown all over the world and actually a pleasure to use. Last year booking made around 5 billion which was payed out to the shareholders, but this year because of Covid things are tough. Already in the first month booking filed for government support for their staff which was payed out, a sweet 65 million bucks. And last year 5 billion profit was payed to the shareholders. Let this sink in for a bit.
So a gigantic company like booking, doesn't have the reserves to overcome a couple of months of non business. Where is the part that they should pay out a bit less to the shareholders and save something for a rainy day. Okay a pandemic is ofcourse a little hard to oversee, but getting the support already in the first month seems kind of greedy.
Ow yeah..a nice comparison if you do the same thing as a tenant or a house owner....not save for a rainy day or when you loose your job. Then it is your own problem, but for a company it isn't. Weird right?
In the documentary it continues about how businesses are often pushed in this greedy direction. Often a nice startup has brilliant ideas for the company and how it just want to be self sustainable, having some nice salaries and some profits to make investments. But because shareholers and stakeholders and money driven individuals come in the concept is often changed, making it abvout maximising the profit, and loosing a lot of the original concept. Such a pity in the end.
Now in the end bills need to be payed, but isn't at some point enough it enough when it comes to profit? Do we always need more?
Maybe this is a good moment to take a look around on how we pass on this world to the next generation by making the companies a lot more sustainable.
When I look in terms of consumption is is going into a good direction at some points. A lot of wrapping of products is done now by re-used paper, and especially the small businesses are encouraging you to bring your own bags in stead of selling them. Straws are slowly turning into paper straws versus plastic, even though currently it is a lot more expensive to buy them. Just because the demand isn't big enough as the supply it is more expensive for now. Hopefully this will look entirely different over the years.
Now I am not claiming to be hero of the day, but it is a good thing to take a step back every now and then and think about what we are doing. Was the idea to start a nice eco friendly coffee bar? Then don't go over to cheaper coffee with worse working conditions for the people who harvest the coffee just because it is a dime cheaper.
In businesses, make sure your staff is happy because you will keep them longer, which is always better. Nobody likes too much rotation and routine changers.
Don't be an ass kicking out people when you don't have to, just to fill your own wallet. Think a bit about the people around you in these turbulent times.