Wherever and whenever we interact with others – as colleagues, suppliers or customers, or even as parent and child – our values provide scope for conflict. Depending on the arena in question, the meaning we give to the word ‘transaction’ can vary (although in its broadest sense of ‘dealings’, it’s not necessary that currency changes hands), but the interplay of values and commerce provides the most fertile soil for problems to rise like weeds.
In one very public arena over the last few days, we have the example of Dalton Caldwell’s open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, angered at his treatment at the hands of Facebook’s business negotiators. Caldwell, a software developer, was dismayed at the chasm he saw between the values he places on the role of social networking platforms and the business style of Facebook, which – and I hope I paraphrase with some degree of responsibility and accuracy – he felt had decided that he simply needed to be acquired. Or, as Caldwell himself put it at one point in his dismayed blog posting:
Mark, I don’t believe that the humans working at Facebook or Twitter want to do the wrong thing. The problem is, employees at Facebook and Twitter are watching your stock price fall, and that is causing them to freak out. Your company, and Twitter, have demonstrably proven that they are willing to screw with users and 3rd-party developer ecosystems, all in the name of ad-revenue. Once you start down the slippery-slope of messing with developers and users, I don’t have any confidence you will stop.