Updated: Dec 1, 2020
The short answer is yes. But maybe the question we should be asking ourselves is, "Are we ready to take on the consequences of doing things differently, going upstream?" Our world is a weird place. It's not easy to make sense of many of the things we see around us, and we take many things for granted that we shouldn't. We also have terrible judgment, based on our misleading first impressions and unrealistic expectations. But what that has to do with owning a software company? Well, everything. The thing is, companies only exist inside people's minds. They come to be because of a socio-economic order that grants a group of businesspeople privileges. Now, keep in mind that these companies exist to create relationships and close deals with people that are a little bit messed up in their minds.
Things can get complicated. And this is the root cause that makes some people think that there is no way a company can scale without becoming unethical. But I believe scaling a company without nourishing the beast is not only attainable but much more fulfilling and thriving in the long-term. To show you how I'm going to bust some of the myths that state against this mission. The first myth says that a significant amount of resources is needed to compete with big companies. I believe that you don't need many resources to start and future scale a company. As a matter of fact, as a small company without the overhead and quickly adapting to the market, you're in a much better position than a big tech company.
The second myth is that it is not possible to scale and grow without data-driven marketing, collecting, and processing data from users. While I might agree that this and whatever marketing strategy you choose will work in the short term, only focusing on truly helping your client - and not yourself - will save you in the long-term, granting you growth and scale.
The third myth affirms that people are not ready to pay for something they can get for "free." As they would say, "Why to pay for software X if I can get the job done using software-full-of-ads-that-stoles-your-data?". Well, that's an awareness issue that I believe we need to overcome in the coming years of this post-digital era, and companies that want to disrupt the market need to double down on their communication efforts to debunk the "we give out software for free without expecting nothing back from you" tale.
The final myth asserts that network effects complicate transitioning large numbers of users from unethical software providers to more healthy alternatives. Orkut had 19 million users in India and 34 million in Brazil when it lost the top spot to Facebook. I do acknowledge that people can influence one another on purchase decisions. But they can do so in many ways, not always benefiting the big-mighty tech market leader.
But the problem is not disproving these myths. The big deal here is how to build enough endurance to face the befuddled minds of our potential clients - hoping for them to get your message and to make sensible decisions. The stakes are high. Because choosing the right path means riding alone off-road in the desert, fighting for each consumer like a Kalahari hungry leopard. At least you'll be fighting the good fight.
I want to thank the user laurex of Human Tech for bringing up this interesting topic for discussion. Thank you!