A friend of mine, William Sulinski, has recently started a cool new project called From Holden. The concept is pretty basic – Will like to wear quality clothes (he’s way more fashionable than me!) but he, like me, is on a startup person’s budget. So he’s decided to start a verticalized men’s clothing company focusing on high quality shirts. It’s a cool concept, and I like the style of the shirts that he’s working on.
From Holden V Neck T Shirt
Will is on the cusp of a new trend in internet retailing, which combines manufacturing/sourcing with internet distribution in the goal of driving down the cost to the end consumer. I like the concept and will be asking for a few shirts for my birthday…
He talks more about what he’s trying to accomplish in a video on his Kickstarter campaign.
Please check out the From Holden Kickstarter campaign and, if you like the shirts, help Will out!
Can you teach ethics?
But the recent, horrible events in Libya have me thinking a little bit about this whole teaching ethics thing…
Colonel Gaddafi’s son – Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, or rather Dr Saif al-Islam since he is the proud holder of a doctorate from the LSE. The younger Gaddafi’s thesis was on the undemocratic nature of global governance (I have heard his father wax lyrical on the same theme from the podium of the UN). David Held, professor of politics at the LSE, recalls Gaddafi junior as manifesting a “deep commitment to liberal democratic reform of his country.” It has to be said that deep commitment didn’t seem to be much in evidence on Sunday when Saif Gaddafi made a rambling speech on television, threatening to fight “to the last bullet” to retain control of Libya.
And according to the Guardian, Saif’s thesis was on “how to create more just and democratic global governing institutions”, focusing on the importance of the role of “civil society”.”
Ok, so LSE didn’t exactly turn a despot’s son into a democratic human rights reformer. Pretty extreme example, I know.
But it does highlight the strange role that people somehow expect business schools to take mature individuals and somehow ensure that they are all ethical business people once they graduate. Is this really possible?
It seems strange to me that journalists like to harp on how certain schools’ graduates do unethical things, as if somehow the school could keep/teach these people to act ethically for the rest of their lives.
What can business schools do?
I feel like the best schools can do is to 1) admit ethical people (to the best of their abilities given the admissions process) 2) kick out unethical people if they are unethical while at school, 3) establish a framework for dealing with ethical dilemmas in the business world and 4) let them know and that it is OK/normal to have ethical issues sometimes and that they should feel good/normal challenging unethical behavior in the workplace once they graduate.
A crazy idea – let in a few unethical MBAs
Schools let in people from all sorts of walks of life and with different backgrounds under the guise of exposing students to new things and having a well rounded class. Note that I liked having a well rounded class, since I had only worked in finance before school so getting exposure to people from different backgrounds was very positive for me. It would have been very boring to go to school with a lot of people who were just like me.
Now here is the crazy idea. Since school is a great place to experience new challenges in a low consequences environment… maybe it would make sense to admit a few unethical people? That way students would be exposed to working with people with a different value system and would learn how to deal with them?
Wouldn’t unethical people be just as an important group of people to be exposed to? There are clearly people in the business world who do nasty stuff. Why shouldn’t schools help students learn how to interact by fostering actual interactions?
I mean, it is easier to stand up to someone who wants to cheat on a group paper than it is to stand up to a boss who wants to do something nasty, isn’t it? Why not practice in school so you are ready for the real world?
Ok, so that was a crazy idea.
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Jason Baptiste has a very good post on going to college or dropping out to pursue a startup. He dropped out of school to try to grow his company, then ended up returning to finish his degree. Great perspective. We can stop blogging about this now!
We’ve had some cool developments at my startup, OfficeDrop – mail-in scanning service + document management – and I figured, why not brag about it on my blog.
First of all, we have really had some aggressive integrations with Google Aps. These basically allow people to get paper into Google Docs, either by our self-scan scanning software download or by linking an OfficeDrop account directly with Google Docs, which pushes the mail-in scans directly into Google Docs accounts as text-searchable PDFs. For us, this is a pretty big deal. A blogger lead a piece on this integration with the title:
Very awesome! (Scroll to the middle of the article) I’m not sure Microsoft feels pressure from us, but we think our integration is a big deal…
You may have noticed that Prasad Thammineni, my occasional co-blogger here at Startable, is becoming very occasional. Well, this is partly because he’s been writing some good stuff on other sites like Small Business Trends. His two most recent articles were published this month and are getting some good traction:
Check them out!
I’ve started spending time on Quora, a question and answer site that is pretty cool. Quora let’s me follow particular topics and lines of questions, some of which are near and dear to my heart like online marketing and venture capital. One of the best parts of the service is that I can connect and follow my friends/connections and see what topics they are answering/following. Well, imagine my surprise when I saw my friend’s profile (I’ve redacted his identifying information in case he finds this public exposure embarassing):
Basically, any of your connections can “suggest” you follow a topic. And it currently appears that you are forced to follow that topic. And the result could be pretty funny. Please note that I’m not at all suggesting that sexual orientation is at all a funny topic – I’m just suggesting it is funny that you can pretty much force your contacts to broadcast that they are following anything that you want.
Despite the awesome little bug I recommend you check out Quora. I think it is a useful service.
This is my profile on Quora (you’ll need to log in to see it). Check it out and connect with me – but first you have to promise not to sign me up for any topics without my permission! http://www.quora.com/Healy-Jones
Prasad Thammineni, my occasional co-blogger, was recently quoted in Forbes (and some other locations, via the AP) on his quest to track down the UPS guy to get his iPad delivered to the OfficeDrop office this past Saturday!
People could also “pre-order” iPads online to arrive Saturday. Prasad Thammineni did just that, but had to chase the UPS ( UPS – news – people ) guy down the block from his office in Cambridge, Mass., to get his iPad.
After playing with it for a few hours, his impressions were mostly positive. Typing on the on-screen keyboard wasn’t as comfortable as using a laptop with a regular keyboard, and Thammineni said he found himself using several fingers but not touch-typing normally. Still, he said, it was much easier to use than a Kindle keyboard.
But the weight of the device might keep him from typing on the go. Thammineni said that after about two minutes of holding up the device with one hand and typing with the other, it got too heavy, even at a mere 1.5 pounds.