Providing for Customers

"Q: You embody a form of capitalism and entrepreneurship without romance. Where does that come from?

A: I believe that the DNA of a business is to provide to its constituents. Customers come No. 1; No. 2 are employees; and somewhere in there are the shareholders. You who started it, you’re last.

When you try and shift a business’s true purpose and say that it’s going to save society, you will fail. Not some of the time—100 percent of the time. Saving baby whales is not what businesses do. I teach a lot of graduating cohorts of engineers and business students, and this is the primary debate we have. When you go out into the world, if you think your job is to solve all of society’s problems, you will get fired."