And what I’ve been seeing in the last few days, of course, with the impeachment failure, it’s no surprise, but so many people at first thought the Senate Minority Leader, now McConnell was going to vote against Trump, and he didn’t. And instead, he said it was not the domain of the Senate. It should go to the judges, or should go to a criminal case, or a civil case, which is, of course, wrong. It’s just about maintaining power for the Republican Party.
I see the CDCs in the United States now going back on the advice on opening schools they had offered with the best of their health expertise, as teachers’ unions in the United States have so much to say. influence on the Democratic Party. And so, as a result, it’s going to be very difficult to move forward with these school openings with a lot of damage to the students as a result. I can go on and on.
But what I think it’s important to understand is that your business model matches your values. It’s what you spend all of your time trying to accomplish and maximize. Your business model is your values. And so often we look at what people are saying, and we look at their communication strategy, and we forget what their business model is. And therefore, understanding the fundamental drivers of an organization, or the people who run that organization so much more important. When you join an organization, understanding this is absolutely essential.
And when I think of culture, you can change the culture. If you change it … because culture is about people. Who are the people in an organization? Do you like them? What do they like? How ambitious are they? To what extent are they oriented towards others? Are they introspective? Are they experts? Are they super intellectuals? Are they deeply aggressive? You can change the culture. And, indeed, you can change the priorities because leadership and management depend on the priorities in which you invest a lot of resources, you put the most effort into them. If you change leadership, you will change priorities, you will change direction. But you can’t change values without changing the business model. And business models tend to be very sticky.
When I think about climate change, and the science on climate change isn’t perfect, but it’s been overwhelmingly in one direction for decades now. And virtually every effort to push back this science was about business models, which were going to be fundamentally undermined by the switch to science. And that’s not just true of coal and fossil fuel companies, and the infrastructure that depends on them, and the bureaucracies that are paid for by these people, and other organizations and studies that match them. But we’ve seen this continue for decades. And the arguments will change as the business model demands.
So for decades we have people saying the climate is not changing, the science is unproven. And it worked for a long time, then it didn’t. And so, the fallback position was to change, but people don’t. They are in fact only natural cycles. And so, we shouldn’t answer them. And it worked for about a decade more or less to slow things down. And then it’s, okay, no, it’s changing, and it’s man-made. And science has indeed proven that we can no longer stop this. But it is certainly too expensive to answer it, to solve it.
And then we see that in a surprisingly short span of time the cost of solar and wind and other renewables can be reduced significantly, exponentially. And then, that’s okay no, but you can’t rely on these sources of energy. And that too, I mean, just this week with what we’re seeing in Texas, and I’m getting all of this today from people telling me about all the wind that’s been taken offline because of the frost, which is true , but much more gas has been taken offline with both absolute amounts and percentage of total freeze. But this, of course, poses no problem to special interests. The business model matters.
Now if you change your business model, if you start investing in a larger portfolio of different types of energy precisely because you understand that these things change over time and you take a longer term perspective that will change your values. But many organizations have not. And for those who haven’t, their values increasingly clash with science.
And that’s not just that, I’m thinking of social media today. I am thinking of Facebook today. I think about Facebook’s communication strategy, how good it will be for all of us, as individuals, to be able to connect and make the best of ourselves known publicly. And yet, of course, it does enormous emotional damage. And we know that the leaders of these companies do not allow their own children to have access to the platforms because they understand the dependency programmed into the algorithms. But the economic model determines values.
We know Twitter would be so much less destructive than a place, if it didn’t have fake bots, people who aren’t people who just promote extreme opinions that are undifferentiated by a lot of people on. Twitter as real. or false. But these things are aligned with the business model, because you make a lot more ad revenue when you have a lot more people spending a lot more time, even if they’re not real people, on the platform. Suddenly remove 50% of your users because they’re not real, and suddenly your business model is much more problematic. So that’s the business model.
All your business sells are its core values. And if you want to find out their actions and what they actually do, where they spend their money, what they lobby for, these are your values. If you work for this organization, these become your values because that’s what you spend your time doing. And this is especially important if you want to understand the United States, because in the United States, the core, the dominant actors in setting the political agenda and strategy are the private sector actors, who capture the process. regulatory. They dominate in China. It is not, in China, it is the state. And so, you would like to understand what is the business model fundamentally for the state, which is political stability and not economic maximization. And when these two things come into contact, come into conflict, the Chinese government overwhelmingly chooses political stability in a way that many Americans in the foreign policy establishment often get it wrong, because they assume the Chinese also want to grow, grow, grow. Well, yes, unless it is a threat to the Communist Party or the state.
And then, in Europe, you have the bureaucracy, the technocrats in Brussels who hold most of the power. And individual states have less sovereignty and private sector actors have less sovereignty. So you want to understand the economic model of a whole group of people who spend their entire career in Brussels, reasonably well paid and aligned with the sustainability of these institutions.
So if you want to change your values, you have to change what you actually do. If you want to change a company’s values, you need to change its business model. And it’s a lot more sticky and it’s a lot harder to do. And in an environment where we say that more and more capitalism is not functioning as it is currently being built for a lot of average citizens, you can see why the United States is actually in a more difficult position to respond, because it is not. not the state that will have the influence. It is not the bureaucracy that will have influence. These are the private sector actors themselves.
And so, you have to look at these private sector players and see which of them have business models that are themselves most aligned with the changes. The climate is now happening to a greater extent in the United States because with the coronavirus, you’ve had this sudden massive acceleration of power over a whole bunch of companies whose business models aren’t aligned with the science that undermines the climate. And those who are are much weaker than they were before. But, on most other issues, it’s a big challenge in the United States. Something we’re going to spend a lot more time on moving forward on.
So I hope it was worth it and was interesting. Looking forward to keeping in touch during the week and in the future. Be kind, stay safe, and avoid people.
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