When I worked in kid’s mobile games, I became aware of the ways that the software designers, developers, and publishers were designing things that weren’t always good for kids. Working inside the industry gave me a different perspective, it also motivated me to learn more and become an active advocate on behalf of young players. I heard what the client wanted, how much they were willing to pay for it, how it could impact the bottom line, and what it did my “test” user at home. Be less evil. Sometimes, that was all you could do. I see this now strictly from the parent point-of-view. She’s grown up on these games. We take it day-by-day; somedays we’re great and everyone wins, somedays, you feel like it’s utterly hopeless. Trust the kid, do you best to make good decisions on her behalf.
Years later, working in enterprise software, I understood our parameters; it was all about cost and efficiency. In the long-term, if done right, there would be a need for fewer resources. Eventually the improved software would replace the people, the really cool people who were working so hard to help me understand their jobs and needs so that we could solve their problems. Solving their problems would make it better for everyone and it stayed true to the company’s underlying mission and purpose. We were aligned, regrettable, but not evil. We would all move forward.
Maybe that’s the test. When you think about the long-term goals and the underlying motivations that go back to mission, values, and purpose, are you trying to make the world better or are you just trying to take what you can? We don’t need to maintain the status quo just because, instead we have to think through the implications of change. Faster, more, and why? Are we coming from a place of kindness, goodness, and generosity or reacting out of fear or neglect, driving behaviors that ultimately don’t help anyone. How can we all move forward?