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This article was published on March 19, 2011

    Ethics and a fool and his money

    Ethics and a fool and his money
    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
    Story by

    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

    Founder & board member, TNW

    Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and pr.co. Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

    Some people say we all have a moral obligation to seperate fools from their money. That is nonsense of course. But how far would you go to protect a fool from losing his money? Especially if you are the person who he could be losing it to?

    This is not the type of post that ends with some good advice. I have no idea what the answer is. Maybe you do have a clear idea about your moral obligations as an entrepreneur or maybe it will lead to an interesting discussion.

    The reason I’m asking the question is because a fellow entrepreneur recenty did an amazingly good deal. A company offered him a proposal for a partnership which contained an error. The error was very advantageous to him and he felt he had (a moral obligation?) to tell them about it. So he drafted a counter proposal which was more fair, to both of them.

    They rejected his proposal and told him, in no uncertain terms, that he either accept their initial proposal or there would be no deal at all. He asked them politely if they were 100% sure the terms of their proposal were okay with them and if they understood what they meant. They assured him they did and asked him to sign everything. He shrugged, and signed the deal.

    I wondered what I would have done in his situation. The same thing probably.

    On the other hand; I’m pretty sure they are going to find out one day and be pissed. Even though it was their idea and he warned them. That is just the way those things work.

    What would you have done? How far would you go in protecting the fool and his money?