Last week, I caused an online ruckus by questioning whether Cool Company Finalist LeadBolt should be named our 2011 Cool Company Awards Readers’ Choice winner.
Put simply, our Readers’ Choice winner is traditionally selected from Finalists based on the number of social media reactions and comments generated by the Finalist’s profile page, which is a page on our website that summarises the qualities of the Finalist.
This year, LeadBolt totally annihilated the competition – because its business model is based on triggering online actions, such as Facebook Likes. Starlettos, the first runner-up, had courted reader praise and social media reactions the old fashioned way – by rallying their mates.
I posed the question, “Who is the more deserving” by way of a crude reader-poll widget.
Sound simple enough?
Well, I was flamed like an Australia Day snag in the post comments for “stoking controversy” and running a “trial-by-media” campaign, for “losing objectivity” in reporting and one item of commentary described my actions as “positively Orwellian.”
Well, was I guilty of stoking controversy? Ummm… check. Running a “trial-by-media” campaign. That’s an affirmative. (It’s a Readers’ Choice Award!) Losing objectivity? When has any private media company ever not been biased? We’re biased. And proudly open about it. Because the alternative would be dishonest. (We’re an organisation made up of people.)
“Positively Orwellian”? Sheesh! My answer to that might require some doublethink.
To be absolutely and positively sincere for a moment, I run a private media company.
And we too have our agendas.
For example, have you ever noticed that we don’t write about mining companies or innovations? A conspiracy at play? No, we just prefer to write about innovations that don’t reinforce Australia’s economic role in the world as a mine and a farm.
But I digress.
I was chastised and my motivations were questioned.
For me, that’s just another day at the office.
I was, however, thoroughly disappointed that none of the opposition to my poll focussed on the true heart and purpose of the post.
Should LeadBolt’s shortcut technique be punished or rewarded?
Think about it this way; All great entrepreneurs are cheats.
That doesn’t mean that they are unethical. It means that they are generally extremely talented at finding the quickest, most efficient and presumably cheapest path to their desired outcome.
And, so long as they take their shortcuts ethically, they should be praised.
At the same time, an ability to work hard should also be recognised.
Entrepreneurs require both.
So, who should get the award? Short-cutting LeadBolt or hard-working Starlettos?
Faced with this dilemma, I thought I would turn precedent – old precedent.
What would King Solomon do? (Skip to 3.22)
To avoid my blather, skip to 3.22 (Three minutes and 22 seconds.)