#2: Personal Message
I keep thinking of ways to make a quick dollar, whether it’s hanging out at Costco to buy up as many Nintendo Wii’s as I can to sell them on eBay for double the price or coming up with some cheap new fad product (like the Snuggie or Pet Rock) that will go out of style in a month but will have an awesome profit over the short term. While I’m sure that ‘get rich quick business ideas’ like these would be fun and possibly make me a lot of money, I am losing my desire to pursue them. Why is that? They don’t add value anywhere.
Over the past few months I’ve really started to pay attention to value. I want to actually create something of value. I want my business ventures to benefit people’s lives in one way or another. I want to provide a high quality product/service that improves the quality of my customer’s lives. As Koch explains, “[Value creation] is the only reason any business should exist.” In order for a firm to survive in the long run (and therefore make any REAL money) it has to create value for its customers. “Parties will not voluntarily enter into a contract unless the both believe they will be better off. Therefore, you can only profit over time in a system of voluntary exchange (a market) by making others better off.” There is a difference between making a buck and providing long-term value to society.
This ties in nicely with our first discussion on Nicomachean Ethics. We asked if the aim of politics should be to make people virtuous. I say that politics does not need to do that. If a company desires to be a ‘going concern’ in the long run, then it will have to be virtuous. It will have to focus on adding real value to its customers (after all, this is a virtue). The first Fortune 100 companies did not remain on the list because they stopped adding real value.