Two unethical “business” models

It was pointed out to me that there are two more ways people make money, and that means there are two more “business” models of some kind. I didn’t list them in my original post as “business” models because, to me, they are so awful:

4. Take valuable things from others by force

Bank robbery, for example. Blackmail. Kidnapping etc. etc. Some people do make a living out of those.

5. Taking advantage of people

That, unfortunately, is far more widespread than at least I’d like to. And typically entirely legal. For example, Silicon Valley is full of well-dressed, senior-looking people with what looks like excellent resumes, who offer to do all sorts of amazing things for your startup. Raise you money. Help finding “strategic partners”. My favorite: “make introductions”. For a fee. Which is charged up-front, in cash, with immediate delivery, or hourly to the tune of $300+ per hour or so. After, the amazing things almost never materialize. And if they do materialize, usually not because of what those guys did. I’ve been burnt, as have many other entrepreneurs. But the business model seems to be working well for those guys: charge and never deliver, and it’s always somebody else’s fault. Perhaps they even believe they do something useful. Arguably, as business people, we are fair game. But I still consider the model awful.

And, many mainstream consumer marketing approaches, like multi-level marketing. For me, preying on poor people, people down on their luck, and even high school students, by luring them with 6-digit salaries selling stuff, but then getting much of the company revenue by taking cash from those very poor people instead of paying them, is outrageous. But, apparently it’s quite respectable on Wall Street.