David Heinemeier Hansson, writing at Signal v. Noise:
The important thing to note here is that we don’t actually need Uber’s board to have an ethical epiphany for things to get better. Do you think that United’s CEO suddenly came to realize the prudence of treating his passengers with a modicum of respect because he saw the light? Come on. United, like Uber hopefully will, changed its policies because they felt no choice.
This is how we improve matters. Once the survival of a company, or at least its reputation, hangs in the balance, all sorts of impossible things suddenly become possible.
Pressure works. Every drip counts. Be a drop.
I harp on this a lot, but for good reason: many people believe government is the only way to keep businesses in line. This is not only untrue, but acutely harmful. Especially when there’s a better way that doesn’t require centralization of power, endless regulation, uncapped spending, or really anything other than what we already have: our ability to choose the businesses we support with our money.
Does it matter that Uber (or any business) only changes because of money, and not some “ethical epiphany”? Not really. I go out of my way to support certain businesses that share my worldview, but oftentimes it doesn’t matter how they’ve gotten to the place of offering a service I want. As long as it meets my standards for price, quality, convenience, sustainability – whatever is important to me in the decision-making process – I’m happy. And that’s a standard everyone can tailor precisely to their own wants and desires.