So last week Apple announced new products. Yawn. The Cult of Apple worshipped their God, and millions of words were written praising His Wisdom. However the most interesting comment I’ve read so far was about the political content of Steve Jobs’ presentation.
Alastair Rankine writes that the Macworld Keynote has moved from slick-but-reality-distorted marketing into the realms of straight-out entertainment, and then criticises Randy Newman’s performance. Not because it was crap (which, being Randy Newman, is inevitable), but because it was political.
Criticism of the Bush administration is something I obviously have a lot of time for. But is it suitable for a consumer product launch? …
Mix politics with business and you take a risk with a relatively small upside but a big downside. If your politics match mine, we are no more likely to do business together than before we knew each other’s positions. But if our politics disagree, this difference becomes a barrier that we each have to overcome in order to do business together.
I’m not arguing for censorship or anything. I’m just saying that the separation of politics and business is crucial for the success of both.
Business is about making money, yes, but sometimes I think it’s wrong to “leave politics at the door”. In fact, is it even possible?
Deciding to continue doing business with someone even though you disagree with their political aims is a political decision: a decision to wimp out and fail to pursue your own political goals. A decision to support your political enemy because money is more important to you than your principles.
Mind you, I fail to live up to my own high-sounding rhetoric. 🙂
I faced an ethical dilemma. I discovered that one of my clients is run by members of Hillsong Church — an organisation which worries me. Did I stop working for them? No. Or at least I haven’t yet. However I have turned down a project which would have been working directly with the Church’s own business interests.
On the other hand, can I be accused of religious discrimination? Perhaps. How would it have sounded if I said “I don’t work for Jews”?
It’s presumably OK to say “I don’t work for the baby-sacrificing Turnip Cult”, though, so where does one draw the line?
Was Apple wrong to include political commentary in a product launch? (Did that happen because Al Gore is an Apple board member?) Where does one draw the line between business and politics (and religion)?