Are startups more ‘fair’?

We were having a conversation about the Rainforest with a friend of the firm who is a VP of a major telecommunications company with a lot of direct experience in Silicon Valley. We were discussing how the most innovative regions are characterized by companies and leaders that seek fairness over advantage in the relationships they develop. This environment of fairness acts like grease for the trust-building wheel and encourages people to try out new ideas, no matter how crazy they are. But our friend pointed out an interesting trend from his experiences:

I agree that pragmatic cooperation is the order of the day in Silicon Valley but don’t necessarily believe that established businesses in the Valley are “in it for fairness rather than advantage.”

Perhaps this Rainforest view is more true in the startup phase where potential is so huge that it drives a “just get it done” approach whereas in established players’ business models the mantra is increasingly “get it done in this particular way as it matches our strategy and works with our alliance fabric.” This second perspective is definitely more like New York.

We love to hear different viewpoints and input on the Rainforest. Indeed, open and honest dialogue is part of what helps to generate a culture of innovation. What do you think? Do companies go from seeking fairness at the startup stage to advantage once they grow? Are large companies interested in or able to maintain their relationships based on fairness once they establish themselves?

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