Values of Good Business

I recently heard Halla Tomasdottir, co-founder of Audur Capital financial services, share her company’s values in a TED talk (embedded below). I couldn’t agree more! Here they are, paraphrased:

  • Risk Awareness: You should always understand the risk you are taking. We will not invest in things we do not understand.
  • Straight Talking: Telling people like it is in plain English, good or bad.
  • Emotional Capital: Emotional due diligence is just as important as doing financial due diligence.
  • Profit with Principles: We care how we make our profit. We do it with a long term view. We use a wider definition of profits that include benefits to environment and society.


Recognize investments and expenses.

Entrepreneurs sort spending this way:

  • Expense:
    Spend this on a regular basis to cover the basics of running the business. I see the value of creating stability by laying a foundation of spending for regular operating expenses.
  • Investment:
    This spending could create more value later. I see strong enough growth potential for results that I value. These results may be money, resources, referrals, market share, and more. Continue reading

Response to Shame and Disgust by Louis Rosenfeld

I recently read a blog post by Louis Rosenfeld, titled “Shame and Disgust” about an ethical issue he faced a while back. A link to his story was posted as an example of dilemmas worth discussing at an upcoming usability conference. Due to spam, his post is now closed to comments. However, he found my reply useful and gave me his blessing to post it here for you.

Hello Lou,

You asked what you “should have done.” I can’t answer that, but I can tell you what I would have done as a contractor in this order:

  1. I would have slept on it and calmed down.
  2. Stopped everything and scheduled a brief private person-to-person meeting with the person who told me, “they didn’t really want to make it easy for veterans” [His dilemma:  It appeared that his client asked him to go against his better judgment and avoid making a website as usable as possible for the intended web site visitors, who happened to be U.S. military veterans. ] Continue reading

How Do Things Work Best in Your Inspired Business? (Part 4)

(This is Part 4 in a five part series.)

Centrally Manage Complexity

“If those [little problems] spread out like a virus and live in everybody’s [practices],
it’s a much bigger maintenance problem down the road.
If we can aggregate as many of those problems in one place, we’re better off.”
– Nate Koechley

Now this principle is all about minimizing work by bringing like things together. If your to-do lists are scattered about in different locations, it is rather difficult to sort out your priorities among all of them. Continue reading

How Do Things Work Best in Your Inspired Business? (Part 3)

(This is Part 3 in a five part series.)

Solve Recurring Problems

“We wanted to take the time to solve some recurring problems once and for all.”

– Nate Koechley

What happens in your business on a regular basis? Good, bad or indifferent? Just noticing what recurs is valuable. Walk yourself through a typical day, then week, then month. If you find yourself saying, “there is no typical,” I challenge you to look closer. What happens every morning? Maybe it starts with a cup of coffee and then one of three things occur, but there you have it, a pattern. Continue reading

How Do Things Work Best in Your Inspired Business? (Part 2)

(This is Part 2 in a five part series.)

Normalize Differences

normalization (also spelled normalisation) is any process that makes something more normal,
which typically means conforming to some regularity or rule, or returning from some state of abnormality.”

In business, normalization leads to systems and sometimes to automation. Normalization also helps you sort out differences and look for a match. Normalization helps you define a strong match. Continue reading