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NOTABLE! ETHICS IN THE FASTLANE: How low will you sink for wealth?

OP
OP
CrocodileX

CrocodileX

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By the way, maybe I'm biased since I am in the supplement industry, but you are making the incorrect assumption that there is NO value in the market. Do some people take advantage of consumers and sell snake oil? Sure. However, there are others (the majority) who sell quality products that provide the consumer value.
I didn't say there is NO value in the market. I just said it's based on unethical practices. If it's been proven that weight loss products don't work for 98% of the people who take it and they only bought it to satisfy a natural urge for a "quick fix", then in my personal opinion it's unethical to continue selling those kinds of products using the same tactics. It's my opinion.

I am not against the supplement business, I am a bodybuilder. And as a bodybuilder, I know that the majority of supplements in the market are placebo at best.
 

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OP
OP
CrocodileX

CrocodileX

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Not playing a game here but it seems you have. I've contributed a lot to other threads on this same topic. Like to know my thoughts on it? Use the search function.
No thanks. If your only purpose on my first discussion is to try and derail it because "it's been done before", I could care less what you think about anything. Go away and mod something.
 

AgainstAllOdds

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I'm actually a member of Mensa... so if you wanna play the "you prove you know nothing" game, well I could be just as petty and upload a pic of my Mensa ID card and tell you that there is a 98% chance you do not have the ability to learn what I can learn and therefore are mathematically inclined to perform less than me over any long-term forecast.


Until you kill your ego, you'll never be able to maximize your ability to create value, and in turn wealth.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Go away and mod something.
Actually my mod isn't going away... YOU ARE.

People if you want to disrespect the folks who make this board possible with their time and hours, your time here will be short-lived.

OP is gone.

I have zero tolerance this disrespectful shit.
 
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Charnell

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RIP in peace, OP.

Also...

If this discussion is just gonna dissolve into people trying to validate themselves
I'm actually a member of Mensa... so if you wanna play the "you prove you know nothing" game, well I could be just as petty and upload a pic of my Mensa ID card and tell you that there is a 98% chance you do not have the ability to learn what I can learn and therefore are mathematically inclined to perform less than me over any long-term forecast.
Wat?

I could care less what you think about anything. Go away and mod something.
How much less could you care exactly?
 

Unknown

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OP is definitely a con artist hoping we'd all agree that what he has done is ok. There's never a reason to cheat someone.
 

vinylawesome

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"Costco of course is a business that became the best in the world in its category. And it did it with an extreme meritocracy, and an extreme ethical duty—self-imposed to take all its cost advantages as fast as it could accumulate them and pass them on to the customers. And of course they’ve created ferocious customer loyalty. It’s been a wonderful business to watch—and of course strange things happen when you do that and when you do that long enough. Costco has one store in Korea that will do over $400 million in sales this year. These are figures that can’t exist in retail, but of course they do. So that’s an example of somebody having the right managerial system, the right personnel solution, the right ethics, the right diligence, etcetera, etcetera. And that is quite rare. If once or twice in your lifetime you’re associated with such a business you’re a very lucky person."

-Charlie Munger



"Remember that reputation and integrity are your most valuable assets - and can be lost in a heartbeat."
— Charlie Munger

"I think track records are very important. If you start early trying to have a perfect one in some simple thing like honesty, you're well on your way to success in this world."
— Charlie Munger
 

smartman

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nevermind, that wasn't appropriate.
 

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FTLane

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I wouldn't ask anyone to do anything I wouldn't do, so lemme share with you some unethical stuff I've done as a lifetime entrepreneur.

*cue my "Chunk" confessional from The Goonies*

1. In the 90's, I wrote a script that manipulated mp3.com's radio station ranking system, putting all of my stations on the top in every genre. Then I wrote a script that hit up bands on mp3.com and told them my company would air them on my stations (mp3.com paid royalties every time someone listened to your music) if they went over to the competitor, IUMA, and registered an account. At the time, IUMA paid $15 per referral. Needless to say, all of these bands followed my landing page's simple 1-2-3 instructions and I ended up generating $11,000/month in revenue until IUMA was bought out by Vitamin-C. Soon mp3.com folded and that venture was over.

MY FEELINGS? Eh. It was a prick on the finger for bands and I made more money than anyone I knew.


2. I signed up for a "dialer" affiliate program and placed them on auto-generated free adult sites in exchange for 25% commission. A dialer's purpose was to be a trojan horse that would (unknowningly to the person who voluntarily downloaded it thinking it was a free porn engine) disconnect your dial-up connection and route you through an Int'l long-distance number that charged upwards of $1/min. Most victims were hard-working Slowlaners with families and when they got the $700 bill for accessing "freelesbians.exe", they would quietly pay it and stop using the service before the wife foun out. I made about $10,000/month in the late 90's from this.

MY FEELINGS? I told my mother what I had done and she asked me if God would approve of me using my natural coding skills to do this. I felt terrible and stopped doing this on my own accord, forfeiting over $2,000/week for 2 hours work.


3. I signed up and peddled "VigRX" on landing pages hosted on free servers. VigRX was supposed to give you "male enhancement". The kicker here was it was endorsed by RON FREAKING JEREMY!!!! There was this low-res, Real-Player video of him endorsing the product so I figured it was legit and used their marketing materials with my own hand-created landing pages. All of a sudden, I was getting $200-$800 checks in the mail every week and I was ecstatic. I didn't know anything about the product, but it obviously cost a lot of money because my commissions divided by page views were astronomical. I then started getting emails from angry customers. I don't know how they found my email address but they did. They were so upset for spending so much money on snake oil. The product ran its life cycle and stopped paying out accordingly after about a year.

MY FEELINGS? I unknowingly propogated a scam product after being duped by the fame of the endorser. These guys who spent money on this were rich. I didn't feel bad at all. I actually kind of laughed before refusing to use that email account anymore because I didn't want to see the angry victim letters.


Those are 3 things I've done that are unethical but paid huge amounts of money. And those are my honest feelings on the outcome.

I've been an entrepreneur since childhood and have struck it rich quite a few times. Each time though, the payday disappeared overnight due to an uncontrollable event.

I read TMF and learned a lot. I want to learn a lot about the structure of entreprenurialism so my next venture isn't so hit-or-miss. I learned that to make it in the Fastlane, I need to create VALUE. Real value, not preceived value. If you exploit a system for pay, you are a slave to the very system you are killing by exploiting it.


In the future, would I do things that cross my ethical line in the name of wealth? YES. Business is business, nothing personal. Would I build my process on something unethical? NO. Would I do anything like the things I listed above? HELL NO.

I am not a bad person. I feel like TMF made me a better person because it clarified why each one of my businesses ultimately failed and how I could've seen it coming. At the same time, I know from experience that money changes you. When you are making real money, the pressure to keep that money coming in changes your ideals. It's easy to say, "I'd never do anything I considered unethical" when all you have is a dollar and a dream.

I would honestly like to say though, for those of you angels out there who would refuse to do anything they weren't 100% comfortable with in the name of wealth, I don't think you stand a chance in this game. Prove me wrong by posting here in front of your estate and say it was all earned without one necessary evil. I apologize, but I believe wealth comes at a price and one of those prices is sometimes having to look the other way while pushing the "execute" button, no matter how small of the consequence.
MJ you must shut down the forum for your own safety I REPEAT SHUT DOWN THE FORUM! We have a 1337 hacker on our hands. :nailbiting:
 

Ninjakid

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To those of you who are on a high horse and want to tell me how uneducated I am for posting my opinion, good for you. You are all geniuses and should be writing books for MJ Demarco to read and learn from since you have such an extensive history of performing well as an entrepreneur. I'm actually a member of Mensa... so if you wanna play the "you prove you know nothing" game, well I could be just as petty and upload a pic of my Mensa ID card and tell you that there is a 98% chance you do not have the ability to learn what I can learn and therefore are mathematically inclined to perform less than me over any long-term forecast.
lookmittens.jpg
 

ddzc

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LOL OP can't even respect the mods and owner of this forum, I can just imagine how ethical whatever the hell he's doing really is.
 

RogueInnovation

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Short rant enclosed
HOW HIGH WILL YOU RISE.
Thats what this SHOULD be.
I think its stupid to assume that being a douche gets you ahead, it doesn't.
And its that piece of cr#p assumption that justifies so many a##holes to be douches.

Lemme tell you this.
I was p#ssed the f#ck off that business would take up any of my precious time. but I learnt it anyways, in an act of solidarity and good faith, and I pushed myself to be a man that CARED about something I before didn't have time for.

I RAISED THE BAR, just by stepping into the arena... The only question now is, how much FURTHER will you push it???

Its a HARD question.
And one not for p#ssies.


People that SINK LOW are not businessmen, just cash wh#res.
And f#ck conmen like that.

RAISE THE BAR.
Have the self worth to raise the collective condition by your actions.
I question myself about ethics every day, but its not about where I set prices, its about what I stand for, and how far I push myself for my fellow man.


There is ethics and then there are PETTY quibbles... try not to mix the two up
TRUE ETHICS requires going against the stream of EASY on a choice, using all the integrity you have to do good for people, its not easy, and thats why most avoid it, and look for a monopolistic/ultimate solution.

But in reality, ethics means to CHANGE your stance towards the better direction EVERY DAY and in every small choice you have to make.

You can't just draw a line... You have to actively challenge yourself to be better all the time.


I'm in a company right now that might create a few factory sizes of landfill.
And you bet your a## I think about it every day "what if we don't use rubber, what if we x".
Let me tell you... Its not easy(for me)...
But every day, I ask myself, IS THERE another way?
And I push to find it.

Ethics doesn't mean to boycott all rubberised products, it means to be active in the considerations of its impact.


To most of the world tobacco, alcohol, fast food, guns, are unethical.
And cases can be made, damn strong ones too for some of them.

That said, I'd sell alcohol, and fastfood, because its a lifestyle choice. Tobacco I wouldn't due to the severe health issues. And guns is something I am neither here nor there on.
 
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Zachariah Lange

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When it comes to making money, my time is worth ALOT to me so anything I sell is for a steal because I am not charging you the true value of my time. These ethics discussions are so subjective, "the line" is an intangible thing that you can't point at and say, "OH! found it, right here!". If I am faced with a choice, one that results in me feeling like a bad person, and the other making me feel good I obviously pick the one that makes me feel good. Of course the things that make me feel good are vastly different than the things that make jefferey dammer feel good, so clearly it is different for everyone.
 

AllenCrawley

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Of course the things that make me feel good are vastly different than the things that make jefferey dammer feel good, so clearly it is different for everyone.
I'm sorry but this made me LOL. So if ethics are different for everyone because of how it makes you feel then Jeffery Dahmer's actions where ethical? I hope I'm misunderstanding your point.
 

SlowlaneJay

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Define your good. Hold yourself accountable to it. Ignore the rest of the world.

No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be good. Like gold or emerald or purple repeating to itself, “No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be emerald, my color undiminished.”
 

Journey2Million$

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I DON'T agree with your premise that business people have to cheat. I think that by and large most business people are honest and ethical and have integrity. It's just hard for everyone to be perfect, so you have some exceptions. A lot of bad business behavior is driven by the stock market, which encourages corporations to make horrible decisions just to boost short term profits. I'd like to basically get rid of the stock market or change it so as to eliminate this short term thinking.

Also I think a lot of business behavior is driven by the ignorance of the masses. If you have to cut corners to deliver a product at a certain price and most customers are only willing to pay that price, such as with the food industry, then most food producers have to use pesticides and factory farm the meat or else be driven out of business. I shopped at Whole Foods, and their prices overall are roughly double normal crappy supermarket prices. Only a small percentage of consumers are informed enough and willing to pay the prices at Whole Foods.

But if companies go too far in a bad/evil direction, they can get punished for it. McDonalds is the poster child for unhealthy fast food. I read a news story that says McDonald's sales have been falling.

In general, I think people who are cheaters or lack integrity are losers, and they usually don't do well in life. I knew a guy who borrowed $20 and only payed me back $10. He was a loser because he lacked integrity.

Brian Tracy said that you need to have integrity to be successful.
Germans are known for being highly disciplined and having a tremendous amount of integrity, honesty, and lack of corruption. Germany produces 10% of the world's manufactured products.
 

csalvato

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On a tangential topic, the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell outlines a man with a 180+ IQ who has made breakthroughs in physics but can't figure out how to make enough money to live anywhere but his mother's basement modest horse farm.

EDIT: Corrected based on wikipedia
 

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axiom

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It should be noted that there is a reason that it can appear as though business people lack ethics. Its because the media only wants to focus on unethical people. Monsanto, Enron, Madoff, and many others get so much publicity that people generalize it to all of business.

Those who are ethical operate under the radar, and the media doesn't really care for them. "Company X Has Perfect Accounting Records" doesn't exactly scream 'breaking news'.
 

MarkNNelson

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Of course the things that make me feel good are vastly different than the things that make jefferey dammer feel good, so clearly it is different for everyone.
Well, I think you disproved your own point! The fact that what feels good is different for each person is exactly why "Whatever feels good" is an insufficient criteria for "What is ethical?"

I see it more as a 2-stage mechanism. Stage 1 is "Is it ethical?" For me, that criteria is both simple and constant across all situations: does this initiate force or fraud against someone? If no, then it's ethical. If yes, it's unethical.

Stage 2 is "Is it a good idea?" This is where my gut, my feelings, come into play. "Does this idea feel good to me?". If yes, then it's likely a good idea. If no, then don't do it.

Or put another way, the fact that it feels good is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition to go forward. But feeling bad is a sufficient condition for putting on the brakes.
 

Zachariah Lange

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I'm sorry but this made me LOL. So if ethics are different for everyone because of how it makes you feel then Jeffery Dahmer's actions where ethical? I hope I'm misunderstanding your point.
If you ask him it was, I'm sure. Just saying everyone has different idea of what constitutes "unethical", so you are never going come to a consensus on where "the line" is. It also depends on the particulars of every situation I.E low wages. Some see sub-par wages and scream "Unethical!!", others see someone running a profitable business and providing jobs to people that want them. I just try to stay focused on my goals and be the person I want to be rather than trying to follow the standards set forth by others. If I am making the choices I want, I could burn in hell or be the greatest businessman in history, either way I am making the decisions that make me happy.

We could have a whole other thread on the effects of those decisions and how you treat others, but that would be a little long-winded for me. Just going for a simple answer to an over-simplified question.
 

Vigilante

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I will not intentionally deceive anyone or violate integrity for money. I don't like money that much. I want to be able to sleep at night. There's a lot of ways to earn an honest buck or more without doing things that are wrong. I also don't believe ethics and integrity are situational. Most things are black and white.

Usually, when people face ethical challenges in business, they center around chasing money. A conscious decision to take the high road or the low road.

I believe loosely in the law of attraction, or the biblical principles of doing onto others what you would want done onto you. It's not always the easiest. It's not always the most lucerative. But... maintaining decent integrity will always make you a better person.

I think it is worthwhile to consider though that people don't necessarily operate from that same paradigm. So, being polyanish in business --- assuming people shoot straight or deal straight, can be a fatal mistake.
 
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Zachariah Lange

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Well, I think you disproved your own point! The fact that what feels good is different for each person is exactly why "Whatever feels good" is an insufficient criteria for "What is ethical?"

I see it more as a 2-stage mechanism. Stage 1 is "Is it ethical?" For me, that criteria is both simple and constant across all situations: does this initiate force or fraud against someone? If no, then it's ethical. If yes, it's unethical.

Stage 2 is "Is it a good idea?" This is where my gut, my feelings, come into play. "Does this idea feel good to me?". If yes, then it's likely a good idea. If no, then don't do it.

Or put another way, the fact that it feels good is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition to go forward. But feeling bad is a sufficient condition for putting on the brakes.
Much better worded than my post. I think it's one of those things where if you have to ask, "Is this ethical?" than the answer is probably no.
 

Zachariah Lange

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I will not intentionally deceive anyone or violate integrity for money. I don't like money that much. I want to be able to sleep at night. There's a lot of ways to earn an honest buck or more without doing things that are wrong. I also don't believe ethics and integrity are situational. Most things are black and white.
Not so much a gray area, as an area of confusion. Some people think being aggressive and taking the upper hand in life can be construed as unethical(subjective). There doesn't always have to be a winner and a loser, but a lot of times there is going to be a loser and that is business. I.E. A guy I know owns a semi repair shop. Next door was a custom fit tube/hose business that he did a lot of business with. Eventually he outfitted his shop with the same equipment, more inventory, and lower prices and put them out of business. Most of us see no problem with that, but a lot of people commenting on here seem to think there is a problem.
 

Vigilante

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It's too bad by the way that the OP didn't have what it takes to be allowed to stick around here. He might have learned some things. Not everyone is out to TAKE.
 

Vigilante

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Not so much a gray area, as an area of confusion. Some people think being aggressive and taking the upper hand in life can be construed as unethical(subjective). There doesn't always have to be a winner and a loser, but a lot of times there is going to be a loser and that is business. I.E. A guy I know owns a semi repair shop. Next door was a custom fit tube/hose business that he did a lot of business with. Eventually he outfitted his shop with the same equipment, more inventory, and lower prices and put them out of business. Most of us see no problem with that, but a lot of people commenting on here seem to think there is a problem.
No problems with that. Business has winners and losers. You should be playing to win.
 

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