First rule of business: No-one is in it for you

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It may sound extreme, but it is the truth. Someone tweeted this morning that the first rule of business is that you never trust anyone. I totally agree with that. But I have chosen to rephrase it in a more practyical way:

The first rule of business is that no-one is in it for you or your interests. It is about them and their interests.

Forget the corporate PR bullshit that everyone spews about acting in your best interest. It is always about acting in their best interest. Individuals, companies, organisations, and countries. It is the number one rule of the jungle.

What has that got to do with mobile? Remember how third party developers innovated with iOS, churning out some great apps, and how Apple turned around and ate their cheese by incorporating those features into iOS itself? Well, Apple only acted in their own best interest. Yes; the developers got rammed in the rear. Too bad.

Remember Nokia’s promises about Qt – and its future on Belle and MeeGo? Developers flocked to Qt and got rammed in their butts when Nokia got in bed with Microsoft. Belle nailed to the cross. MeeGo drowned. Yes; there is no justice in this world.

Twitter has announced changes to their developers API, and the long and short of it is that it has become more difficult to be a third party Twitter app developer. As a matter of fact, some suggest that what Twitter wants to do is cut off use of third party Twitter apps entirely.

Why? Think of revenue from ads and all that. If only official Twitter apps get used (and they are available on almost every platform now), Twitter smiles to the bank. Twitter are only acting in their own best interest. Yes; developers are getting rammed in the butt again.

It is not just Twitter or Apple. Its life. Its business. No-one is in business for you. Its for them, and they will accommodate you only so long as it serves their interests. Once you outlive your usefulness to a business, hello!

What Lessons?
Whether you’re a mobile developer, a blogger, VAS provider, or whatever other specialisation you offer, the earlier you come to terms with this basic, foundational business truth, the better. Businesses, organisations and individuals only court you so long as it serves their interests. It isn’t like they care, so stop living in a fool’s paradise.

Say after me, “No-one is in business for me.” Memorize it. Print it boldly and post it on a wall in your strategy room. Draw up your plans with that in mind. Learn to play the game. Someday, it might save your butts. Thank me later.

Yes; and stop being silly playing hero, and start acting in your own best interests too.


  1. I was very fortunate to learn this lesson the hard while in secondary school after a business deal with my brother.

    This very fundamental truth has been very helpful to me and the sooner everyone realises it, the better it is for them.

  2. Businesses, organisations and individuals only court you so long as it serves their interests. It isn’t like they care, so stop living in a fool’s paradise.

    This is the only reason I as an individual also choose a mobile platform that is the best for me at any point in time. I’m always amused when people say things like: Apple cares for the consumers, older devices are carried along when new updates are available. That’s true but even our prisons here in Nigeria do get a facelift from time to time but that doesn’t change the fact that it is still prison.

    I mean what is the use of an update in name, that only serves to tighten things up even more? An update that serves to guarantee that there profit margin will keep increasing.

    Every big firm is guilty of this same ill but while some are very subtle in their approaches, others like Apple are more blatant.

  3. That “corporate PR b*******” is designed to keep potential customers and business partners on side. At the end of the day, no one is going to get into anything with you unless they want to get something out of it – that’s life.

    However there are few altruistic businesses who will not only do for the customers but also for others as well, but they do exist (extremely rare in the cut-throat Nigeria business environment).

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