You Are Only As Good As Your Name

I have written about this topic before, you are only as good as your name.  The lessons we teach our children is, to tell the truth, say please and thank you, be considerate of others, understand moral justice and what saying sorry means, be respectful of others and above all be honest.

I could go down a variety of paths but I can’t help wondering about people’s behavior these days.  It is anything from unacceptable behavior in the workplace to making financial commitments and then just walking away from them.  Is it a feeling of entitlement?  Have people become so cavalier around commitments?

People’s name proceeds them.  And if someone doesn’t know a person, it is easy to find their reputation out in a few easy clicks.  These days it almost impossible to behave badly and believe that you can just sweep it under the carpet.

As we watch the fall out of many and there are certainly more to come and that includes investors who aren’t honest, make commitments and then just walk away, and bad behavior of others.  Remember, you are only as good as your name.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Semil Shah

    There seems to be little or no penalty for not keeping one’s word. The world is not punishing that behavior, and in some cases, rewarding it. Perhaps its our attention span, or the numbing effect of the news cycle, our inability to actually process our surroundings in the digital age.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Yes it’s being ignored and I don’t get it.

      1. Semil Shah

        Just riffing here — but perhaps in the past, there was a cost to behaving this way, so people were more careful; today, there is little to no cost (perhaps for reasons cited earlier) — if this is true, then “why” is this is the case? One theory – global competition from networks — for instance, with Tinder, one can find a new partner in the moment every week; or with Airbnb, can move from town to town, etc With more options & more mobility, folks can “be themselves” and just move on in the marketplace … just thinking/writing out loud.

        1. Gotham Gal

          Perhaps it is just the speed we all go at too

        2. LE

          Actually at least part of the root of this evil comes from startup culture and investing. Where failure (but also being branded as having raised funds and being a ‘player’) gives you a 2nd chance often. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved. (Where ‘love’ = ‘raised funds’).Let me illustrate with an real life example.In the 80’s an older businessman wanted to be my partner. He was a customer and liked what we were doing. I noticed that on the checks that he paid with it said, next to the company name, “DIP”.I asked him what that meant. (Pre internet!)He gave me some BS answer. He always seemed a bit slippery so I checked around and I found out that DIP meant “Debtor in Possession” (in other words he had filed for bankruptcy)So I passed on being partners with him. That person later expanded his company ended up buying CD Baby with that company. Mistake on my part in retrospect?All because of the impact of “DIP” on the check (and also importantly the way he appeared to be to much of an operator.). But honestly it was the DIP that scared me.So that is what bankruptcy used to mean in many cases. That is what failure used to be. It was a black mark. You suffered because of it.Not anymore it seems.

          1. Semil Shah

            I am not sure how many “second chances” folks get — what I see in the Valley is folks can do 1-2 startups, but pretty hard after that. You’re right, however, that lately with the explosion of capital and desire to start companies, that may loosen a bit.

    2. awaldstein

      All I can do is work with, invest in, befriend, vote for, campaign against those that break the ethical fiber of the world as I know it needs to be.That is all I can do.And that is a start.

  2. Anne Libby

    I just can’t get over the people who leave a paper trail. They email, they text, they say it in chat. Even beyond the ethical/moral/legal consideration of whether they should have ever said it or not, they feel so, I don’t know, bulletproof? that they commit it to the ages by putting it in writing.It’s unfathomable.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It certainly is

  3. Kirsten Lambertsen

    If one has money and/or power, there’re always those with less money who’re willing to overlook a shady reputation in the hopes of getting something of benefit. People do it all the time. I’ve done it, in desperate times (but never will again).Looking the other way is always transactional.

  4. Murtaugh

    Enjoyed your post – thank you for sharing it.We have given the same, “What are the family values we want to teach out children?” a lot of thought in our family.We came up with:1. Think of others.2. Have fun and get dirty.3. Take good risks.Our oldest is only 12 but so far it seems to have good for us.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I like it