Davidson’s point about the ethical trajectory of a company is spot on. But it goes even further than the single company. There’s an ethical trajectory of a whole ecosystem, and the one in Silicon Valley is in need of some serious recalibration. Springing to the defense of appalling privacy abuses with excuses like “well, everyone else does it” only reveals just how dire the need is for that recalibration. A process that has to start with one company at a time.
But even if Silicon Valley was a beacon of ethical behavior, you’d still want successful startups on a strong trajectory to have their business model and practices subjected to scrutiny in proportion to their success. The more people are using something, the greater the potential for harm (and good). This isn’t rocket science.
Scale radically alters the dynamic of a company’s impact. Consider, for example, how the scale of companies like Uber and Airbnb have made their services as commonplace as the categories they disrupt without similar oversight for safety or ethical business practices.
Scrutiny is a force for good; it should be embraced.