Why I hate business
I actually love enterprise. I love the idea of individuals and small groups of people getting together and building something wonderful, and having that wonderful something produce prosperity for them and their community and the world at large.
But for some reason, I get really annoyed by people who are “really into business”, who are obsessed with the topic, who want to write about it, and talk about their aspirations as business owners, etc, etc, etc.
And I just figured out what that reason is.
People who are into music, technology, house-building, cabinetry, automotive engineering, writing, astronautics, philosophy, pizza-making, ditch-digging, and grammar-correcting-for-hire really interest me. They interest me even if I’m not into the thing they’re into. If they’re making a lot of money with their pizza-making or whatever, I really respect that. If they want to share their strategy for turning their mom-and-pop pizza joint into a multi-national aunt-and-uncle pizza joint, I’m probably interested in reading about that.
What they are doing with their specific focus is telling me how they are making the world a better place. Maybe just by improving the pizza slice that you eat on your way home from the dentist, or making a deeper ditch, or writing a better poem…but these people are contributing something that they value to the world.
Someone who is obsessed with business, on the other hand, is telling me how excited they are to extract value from the world. Which is cool - I want them to find good ways to provide value and extract payment for that value. But I’m more interested in hearing about the way they’re going to provide value - not the way they’re going to extract value. One excites and interests me - the other strikes me as boring and selfish.
There’s some irony in this. I’m being selfish in that I want to hear about how people are going to create something that will make the world, and by extension my own life, better. I’m not interested in how they’re going to make their life better. That’s kind of weird to think about, but the fact remains:
Writing about the business of creation is fundamentally about others, writing about the business of business is fundamentally about yourself.