Don't Be Evil
While Google quietly dropped "Don't be Evil" from their Code of Conduct, here at Frappe we just formed our own version of it.
One of the core reason why Frappe exists is not to become an exploitative capitalist company that only cares about our own maximisation even at the cost of the society. At the last trip, Aditya and I had discussion and we thought, we need to be specific about things we will never do as an organization so it is clear for all future teammates and we should codify it.
On last week's Friday Forum (our weekly all hands), we debated, tweaked and finally adopted this version of "Don't be Evil" or our code of ethics.
- Never do anything for money - Whenever we do anything as a team, money must always be the barometer of fairness and feedback, not the reason why we do things. The reason for doing anything must be to solve a real problem or fulfill a real need.
- Never create a lock-in - Always allow customers to be free to exit our services if they deem that we don't provide adequate value.
- Don't be rude - Don't come in the way of someone's workflow. Any cold outreach has to be personalized and non-robotic and extremely relevant to the audience. Advertisements have to be non interrupting / non intrusive (no banners, disruptive ads etc)
- Never sell our users - Never give our visitor data to 3rd parties and don't promote tools that collect user data to build detailed profiles and sell them goods.
- Never do anything to mislead others for gain. Always be up-front and frank with your customers/teammates and never mislead anyone for any personal or the organisation’s gain.
- Never sell a lifestyle - Most great marketing tells you to sell lifestyles - this is what luxury goods companies, cigarette, alcohol, fashion companies do. They don't sell you a product, they sell you a differentiated lifestyle. (Don't be like Apple here)
The biggest discussion was around outbound sales and what is acceptable in that context. What we decided was that any cold outreach activity cannot be robotic. The person sending an email should spend as much time drafting it as the person who is going to receive it. There was another interesting discussion on Free vs Proprietary software and where do we draw the line. We have another proposal and debate coming up on that, so there will be clarity on that too.
Surprisingly there was no debate on the first (and probably the most controversial) clause, "Don't do anything for money". Either everyone in Frappe believes that organizations must exist beyond their capitalist goals or they were just quiet! The real challenge is now to follow this in our day-to-day operations.
Rushabh is a software developer and founder of ERPNext. He usually writes about the startup experience, open source and the technologies he is working on.