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Greed is Good Demonstrate These Founders (And It Is Not For Money)!
Seldom has there been a force as powerful as ‘greed’ that has not impacted businesses, corporations and even countries in extreme and unimaginable ways. While the resultant good economic, corporate or entrepreneurial growth has been credited to sound strategy, policy, vision, visionaries, sound regulation and all good things people like to hear, the converse has always been blamed on inadequate regulation, system breakdown and as ‘the scourge of greed and greediness’. If evidence is of any significance, then it can be, but argued that greed as a factor has always existed and always will. Now, in recent digital times, it seems greed has evolved and acquired new dimensions. The traditional greed captains & masters (aka capitalists, dictators, speculators etc) have progressively given mindshare (and way), to the new age technology breed founders. That includes college drop outs too, who dreamt of everything big. This discontinuous breed of start-up founders like Larry Page/ Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and the like, all have a lot in common. Apart from being self made billionaires and tech wizs – they all are/ were seized with passion and arguably eulogised ‘greed’ too – bringing Gordon Gekko back centre stage with that now famously infamous line “Greed Is Good’.
But, this breeds greed looks very different and draws impetus in serving large global customer franchise sets, in rapidly short times. In the process this breed has been greedy beyond imagination, to build power brands (and in a hurry). More as brands by usage and interactive experiences, than the classical evolving way in which brands got built during earlier times – For one, the new breeds greediness can be dubbed as new age technology miracles and nothing short of magic (at least when they first broke out into the customers homes and minds, changing not only their future course of actions, but also their living and working styles) – and irreversibly so (can you imagine a life without google or facebook for those living on planet facebook)? They provided unparalleled goods and services which in turn translated them into becoming global powerhouses and global money spinners.
What else is common to this breed and what is it that makes them never stop, even after becoming the world’s richest people ever? Clearly these founders are/ were revolutionaries. They seek, demand and command power. And above anything else they just want to get there first (not second or a close second). Surely they know there is big money to be made by doing so and enough heavy duty VCs had been telling them too. But is it just money that drives them? Possibly not! They know the money will come, but losing sight of the opportunity/ or missed opportunities, would cost them much more – and to be dealing with their personal angst for missing the boat. How else can one explain that as/ when fortune had favored them, they not only had seen it first, but grabbed the opportunity with all four hands too – never wanting to share or lose the big idea to anyone lurching around. In effect they are ferociously competitive, very secretive and protective of their big ideas, and the possible world they are/ were going to create – something that subsequently has translated to their organizations DNA too.
All these founders at some time openly declared ‘they have no use for money’. Bill gates in recent times yet again said “The utility is entirely in building an organization and getting the resources out to the poorest in the world. While, Zuckerberg has incredulously stated that money does not motivate him as much, than building better and discontinuous services. Ergo look what they own, computing power, face book power, gadget power – essentially interactive power to reach large cross sections of people through technology and social networks. Power that that even politicians would crave for – which in fact says how powerful these icons have become, and the algorithmic authority they own – making them god like, on huge fan following, and with potential to start their own influence groups in the politico-economic world.
The new breed certainly eulogizes, greed as good and has made it come alive – centre stage via greed for great ideas, greed for value creation and greed for admiration – all heady stuff. And above all greed for power to migrate to them via the large tech and social networks via netizens that they created – demonstrating ruthlessness and sophisticated impatience at all times [reminiscent in many ways to yesteryear dictators, who craved for power too – but got it more thru terrorizing people and instilling fear, in the process eroding their citizens trust and worth, and to get cursed down the years (and not admired) – That breed was just greedy, unlike the new breed that works to make greed look good, healthy and admirable].