Frans de Waal’s famous experiment on unequally paid monkeys is an amazing video that I enjoy to watch every time on TED. As we see in the experiment, two monkeys are working happily under a standard setup until one of them is paid unequally and the other observes the difference in payment. Monkey first puzzles, then frustrates and then denies to work and revolt until he will be paid fairly.
I believe this experiment addresses one of the biggest human nature problems. For us, everything has a relative value and the only way to keep us happy is to make us believe and feel that we have a fair deal.
This concept is also vital when you start a business. You start with an idea; pitch to people close to you; reshape the idea; and create a business plan and act. While many decisions are taken on the road between you and different parties, the main concept you should keep in mind is to be fair:
- Fairness between co-founders: Trust is the glue for co-founders. Open and honest communication is the important portion from day one for their partnership.
- Fairness with team: Founders should feel responsible not only to employers, and also to employers’ families. When they will have this mindset, team members will feel and work more sincerely.
- Fairness with investors: While founder should prioritize interests of investors, s/he also needs to feel safe that investors will behave fairly as well.
- Fairness to the society and family: While first three are more obvious, a successful entreprenuer should not forget what are the responsibilities for the society and family.
Some says life is not fair – I disagree. I believe anyone can find a common ground where every individual will feel fair. I believe a successful entrepreneur should figure out the right balance between these four important participants and try to maximize the alignment with all as much as possible.