Why Entrepreneurs Say Rules Shouldn't Apply to Them- Bill Keyes

Talking Trends
3 min readDec 27, 2021
Image from Unsplash by Glen Carrie

As convenience and innovation consistently trump ethics in our world, we have to ask ourselves where to draw the line between whites and entrepreneurship. I recently came across an interesting article on Forbes that highlights why entrepreneurs believe rules should not apply to their progression.

According to the article, the way to spot a potentially successful entrepreneur is by their adherence to rules, as well as their inherent smarts. The more prone an individual is to rule-breaking, likely the more successful he or she will be as an entrepreneur.

‘Entrepreneurs argue that if they always followed the rules their companies would never get off the ground, depriving the public of life-changing products and services. Undeniably, the world needs entrepreneurs. The world’s population would be much less safe, less wealthy, and less happy if entrepreneurs had never existed or had been forbidden to operate.’

‘Political and legal arguments around entrepreneurial rule-breaking have been around for centuries, but more recently the issue has caught the attention of ethicists, people schooled in the philosophical, religious, and legal methods for defining rational constraints on behavior. Those who believe that entrepreneurs should be allowed to bend or ignore rules predicate their arguments on the assumption that entrepreneurs, in general, create value and improve people’s lives.’

The article expands on seven related arguments that stand in favor of ‘entrepreneurial rule-breaking.’ These arguments range from philosophical to practical to principled, and all are equivocally making a case for the same standpoint.

1. That was then; this is now

On this view, entrepreneurs can reasonably ignore rules that are outdated or have been superseded by the facts on the ground.’

2. Double-binds aren’t binding

Entrepreneurs, when confronted with two irreconcilable rules or regulations, are justified in ignoring one or the other.’

3. The greatest good for the greatest number is what counts, literally

The magnitude of the benefits delivered by any entrepreneurial innovation should be balanced against the magnitude of its harm.’

4. It’s a free country

Business is inherently competitive and therefore naturally incentivizes entrepreneurs to deliver more value at a lower cost.’

5. Seek forgiveness, not permission

This is something of a mantra among entrepreneurs. It encourages them to break rules in the belief that we’ll thank them later.’

6. Let the buyer beware

Many entrepreneurs and business leaders maintain that it is not their responsibility to tell the whole truth or to explain potential consequences if they are creating net positive value for society.’

7. If it’s okay with God or Grandma, then it’s okay with me.

‘If you can justify your action to your God then you are being guided by the wisdom of the ages, which transcends all earthly laws… Another variation to this form of entrepreneurial morality permits any activity that your grandmother would approve of.’

‘With entrepreneurs’ ability to instigate far-reaching societal changes — for better or worse and faster than ever — now is the time we need to figure out how much leeway, practically and ethically, to give entrepreneurs in the anticipation of the innovations and benefits we expect them to deliver.’

You can read the original article here.



Talking Trends

Talking trends is a platform for people with a story to tell.