How do You Build a Culture with Integrity When Your Product Has None?

by Jennifer Miller on May 30, 2014

in Leadership

integrity definitionFirst of all, let me say this: I’m an American. I believe in free enterprise. If a company wants to offer a ridiculous product and people buy it, then let the market decide.

But sometimes, I just have to wonder.

For example, does the world really need not one, but two smart phone apps (called, appropriately, Secret and Whisper) that encourage people to anonymously post gossip, inane “secrets” and all-out mean, nasty commentary? I mean, haven’t we got that pretty well covered with internet trolls?

And, as a writer who covers leadership and its impact on the workplace, I also wonder: how the heck do you create a company culture around a product that has at its core secrecy and no accountability for what you put out into the world? The product is like smart-phone enabled graffiti: ugly and anonymous, for all the world to see, but with nobody brave enough to lay claim to it. How in the world does company leadership build a culture with integrity around that?

So I wrote about my thoughts on the Huffington Post blog in a piece titled: Secrets and Whispers: No Way to Build a Healthy Company Culture. Stop on over and post a comment – I’d love to know what you think.

Media reports estimate that the two companies that launched the apps Secret and Whisper have amassed an estimated 40 million dollars (US) between the two of them to fund their start-ups. Something to consider: what else could that cash buy? I did a quick internet search, crunched the numbers and discovered 40 million dollars:

Feeds 512,820 children for a year, according to the United Nations World Food Programme

Buys over 10 million family-sized bed nets, which help prevent malaria outbreaks, according to the Against Malaria Foundation

Vaccinates 20 million people against measles (2 doses) according to the Center for High Impact Philanthropy

Provides 1.6 million care packages to United State military personnel, via Operation USO

Provides 400,000 free bikes to kids via the Free Bikes for Kids organization


The venture capitalists have every right to invest wherever they want. Even so, it’s discouraging to read about some of their choices.


Copyright: ivelinradkov / 123RF Stock Photo


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jennifer Miller May 30, 2014 at 8:15 am


Thanks for stopping by The People Equation. I appreciate your addition to the conversation!

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