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COOLFARMING
Rather, she tries to recommend what she thinks is good for her read-
ers. She does not suggest what is good for the author, the publisher,
or herself (by getting a cut from the author or publisher), but what
benefits her audience. Of course, what is good for the readers will be
good also for the author and the publisher, driving up sales. And in
the end, this is also good for Oprah, because it builds her brand as an
impartial judge of books of high quality to improve the general taste
and knowledge of the American public.
Basing your business model on the principles of Yhteisöllisyys and
Gemeinsinn improves the world for all stakeholders, not just the
business owner but also employees and customers. For example,
Apple stores defy conventional retail wisdom by paying their sales
staff a fixed salary, with stellar results for Apple. With the pressure
to sell taken away, Apple store employees have a more relaxed and
customer-friendly attitude, greatly increasing the buying experience
of clients, which leads to Apple stores being the most profitable
stores, per square meter, in the United States, at double the level of
profitability as their nearest competitor. Swarm businesses based on
Yhteisöllisyys and Gemeinsinn can be very profitable.
Coolfarmers Are Ethical
Successful coolfarmers adhere to a strict ethical code. The work ethic
of exemplary coolfarmers, such as open-source programmers, is
quite different from the Protestant work ethic as defined by German
sociologist Max Weber, who saw it as the obligation of each mem-
ber of society to work as hard and dutifully as possible to please God.
The work ethic of an open-source programmer, by comparison,
includes flexible working hours, creativity, and a passion for one’s
own work. This ethic also disdains monetary reward for one’s
achievements, preferring what the open-source programmers call
Egoboo—the respect of their peers.
The main reason this work ethic based on a self-organizing way
of developing new things works so well can be described in one
word—transparency. Computers, the Internet, blogs, wikis, and social
networking sites are enablers of transparency. In the early Internet
days, a famous New Yorker cartoon showed a dog sitting at a com-
puter telling another dog, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a
dog.” This has totally changed as today’s web society has introduced
total transparency.
In a media-dominated world, people gaming the system get
exposed much faster, leading to a new definition of ethical behavior.
Fifty years ago, the late Kenneth Lay, former Enron CEO, might
have gone into the history books not as a corporate villain, but as a
hero and founder of a highly innovative company. But this sort of
behavior does not go undetected and unpunished anymore. The
e-mail communication of Enron clearly demonstrated that Ken Lay
was well informed about the unethical behavior of key people in his
company, counter to his own words and the printed Enron code of
ethics.
3
Today’s leaders are expected to not just verbally declare but
personally demonstrate ethical behavior, and to treat their stakehold-
ers in an ethical way.
Ethical behavior not only avoids punishment, but also brings
handsome rewards. As a company, it pays to be ethical in dealing
with customers, employees, and suppliers. Remi Trudel and June
Cotte from the University of Western Ontario investigated whether
people were willing to pay more for ethically produced goods.
4
What
they found in a series of experiments was that people were willing to
pay premiums for coffee and cotton T-shirts if they knew that the
producers were compensated fairly and the ingredients were pro-
duced in a “green” way.
In particular, Trudel and Cotte defined ethical business behavior
as having good relations with all stakeholders, including consumers,
WHAT MOTIVATES COOLFARMERS?
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