Pitched battles against the consequences of entrepreneurial activity are currently raging on three fronts.
Due to the upsurge of underage vaping, the federal government, several states and cities are moving aggressively against Juul and other companies in the e-cigarette industry, and the company has removed its CEO. (A recent spate of deaths associated with vaping has greatly raised the stakes.) Due to the opioid addiction crisis, Purdue Pharma and its founding family the Sacklers face massive lawsuits and possible criminal prosecution, and the company has declared bankruptcy. Meanwhile, on both sides of the Atlantic, government agencies as well as scholars, politicians and even some former tech executives are going after Facebook and Google for allegedly misusing private data, undermining democracy, spreading extremism and engaging in monopolistic practices. Some politicians are calling for their breakup.
And those are just the front-page stories. Many others are local, like the scourge of motorized scooters being strewn across sidewalks, causing a surge in serious injuries among riders and leading cities like Indianapolis, Denver, San Francisco and Nashville to ban them.
Today In: Leadership
Entrepreneurs creating dire consequences—often unintended—with their innovations is a phenomenon as old as civilization itself. Today those consequences multiply at warp speed, which is all the more reason to regulate (and in some cases punish) entrepreneurs and companies whose innovations result in intolerable situations. But we should balance that negative approach with a more positive approach designed not just to discourage bad behavior but to encourage good behavior that takes into account the well-being of everyone.
It won’t be easy. Entrepreneurs are notoriously hard to manage, for reasons that amount almost to forces of nature. First, successful entrepreneurs are driven by their deepest personal needs, desires and motivations. Such self-direction is an essential element of all successful entrepreneurial activity and innovation.https://www.forbes.com/sites/dereklidow/2019/10/07/four-ways-to-focus-entrepreneurs-on-the-common-good/?fbclid=IwAR2jlD8354Sw2-IV6ema_y3Y7mOmsJfo5NkCK1e6fOZAyyP3-LSf4WpGyLs#7a3d1ea2631d