Startup 101: Decency

Aron Solomon writes on Uber’s price actions during the Toronto storm that I find truly disappointing:

So here we go:

  1. When a really bad storm hits a city, people are stranded and very upset, and you provide transportation services to the citizens of said city, you should not dramatically raise your prices at that exact moment;
  2. If you do so, you are an asshole;
  3. If you are an asshole, you should be called out for being one.

This is pretty much the lesson. Same holds true for folks who charge $99 for a container of baby formula right after a tornado, $150 for a package of batteries after an earthquake, and so on and so forth. There may not be a law forbidding you from price-gouging, but doing so makes you an asshole.

This doesn’t just apply to startups. Businesses of all stripes would do well to remind themselves that they are citizens of the cities in which they operate, and being a good citizen is simply the right thing to do.

When faced with adversity, citizens band together to do things for each other and make the best of the situation. Don’t be that one person or business that fights that solidarity.