​The Glass House


Technology has provided us with something great – communication and connectivity making us all connected and visible anytime and everywhere. Gone are the times of simple voice communication and long live instant messaging, video calling via various applications and social networking on our smart devices. Mobile phones have detached us from our buildings and other physical locations and made calling a personal matter instead of phoning an address.

Online networking has allowed us to reconnect to people long lost and share current events of our life with our friends and families. They know every day where we are and what we do. We can even tell them on Facebook that we just had lunch at Subway and send a picture of the culinary creation or share the important fact that we just popped out to get some groceries. That’s great.

On top of that Governments are snooping our information and anything else we send via the internet or discuss over the phone. They check which website we are visiting and what content we look at. Facebook, Google and others have even commercialised information we provide, partly voluntarily, and send us all sorts of offers that might fit our consumer profile. The world knows where we shop and what we shop by tracking our credit cards and even your movements can be monitored by following our phones via GPS or cell log information.

Anything we do can bee seen, followed and found again. Even after many years that information will sit on some server somewhere waiting to be accessed. Now this is the new transparent, connected or interconnected world we have created and live in.

So why does that matter?

It matters because everything we do can be seen and will be judged. Good things as well as bad things and the downside is that the bad things usually stick around for longer. In the past any mistake or failing was an isolated event, mostly only known to a few parties and rarely made public unless it was a crime or a major incident. It was certainly far more difficult to make the news on a global basis unlike now. All the websites, news-feeds, portals, social networking sites and blogs are visible globally and the news will travel fast, no matter if its true or not.

Mark Twain said long before the digital age that: “A lie has already travelled half around the world whilst the truth is still putting on its shoes” These days it might have gone round a few times by then.

For us as a business the same applies and poses a threat to our brand and reputation if we do things wrong. Good reputation, personal or as a business, is a very valuable thing and takes a long time to build but can be ruined in a blink of an eye. It has become so fragile and perishable, but the more valuable at the same time. So it is critical how we behave and how we act more though than what we do.

The question to ask ourselves is “Do we meet the moral norms, ethical values and behavioural expectations of the others watching rather then our own?” Any act and any experience will be measured by someone, somewhere and ultimately judged.

We have to remember that in this new transparent and interconnected world the others will be our Jury, no matter right or wrong, good or bad, true or false.

Andreas Hipp