Don’t be evil

" It takes both sides to build a bridge"

-Frederick Nael

Don’t be evil.  Have you ever stopped to think about how a bridge gets built?  Whether it’s a drawbridge, a suspension bridge, or just a bridge over a local river, the approach is generally the same.  Instead of one side building all the way across, both sides build and meet in the middle.  Such a simple concept but there’s a lot of lessons to be learned from it.

I am often contacted by people, organizations or companies looking to raise awareness to their animal rescue related activities or their animal related product or service.  Usually these are people looking to build a bridge and help me promote Doobert and the awesome work the Doobert volunteers and organizations are doing, in order for some help raising awareness to their group or product.  But every once in a while, there are those reach outs from companies that are very one-sided and not looking to build a bridge but rather to get ‘free promotion’ for themselves.  One such company is Figo Pet Insurance who had their PR firm reach out to me recently to ask me to embed a guide for introducing a new kitten to a home on the Doobert site in order for them to get links to their site.

Considering that the information they were asking me to embed could benefit our volunteers, organizations and ultimately adopters, I said I would be glad to link to it and even blog about it to highlight how they were trying to do good and share useful information.  I simply asked if they could highlight the great work that Doobert volunteers and organizations were doing in return in a blog or link or tweet, in order to help us reach more volunteers.  Despite beginning to build a bridge from my side, their answer surprised me.  “…unfortunately, this is something we won’t be able to do. But, if anything changes in the future I’ll be sure to reach out to you.”

For a long time, Google had a simple motto that drove their success and company culture.  “Don’t be evil.”  Three words that governed how they did things.  Whether they were collecting search data, promoting their brand or developing new products, everyone in the company knew what it meant to not be evil.  If you ever interact with Google’s customer service you will see that they are very different than customer service from other companies.  They WANT to help you.  They WANT to build a bridge.  They don’t consider you a nuisance but a valued customer even though you’ve likely never paid Google a dime.  They embody their motto “Don’t be evil” and use it to guide their culture and service.

Think for a moment about how you operate your animal rescue or how you interact with others in animal rescue?  Do you operate like Figo Pet Insurance does, desiring self-promotion, one-sided marketing and by taking advantage of other organizations and volunteers?  Or do you build the bridge from your side with a desire to meet in the middle and support the welfare of animals?  You would think that companies like Figo would want to build a positive brand image because you as animal rescue volunteers and organizations are in a unique position to promote or steer people away from their product.  But they are not interested in helping animals or those saving animals and do not share the same principles of reciprocation or bridge building.  Would YOU recommend them to your adopters?

So think about your interactions with other groups and organizations.  Are you being evil?  Do you take without giving?  Do you take advantage of others?

Don’t be Figo.  Don’t be evil.

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