Today, Thursday, September 3, I had a lecture with Serdar & the class. We were discussing the examination project and the simulation, and we made fun of the broken fire alarm – some compared it to a drilling machine while others compared it to a cat purring.

At the end, I asked Serdar if we were allowed to use negative descriptions of our competitors during the investor round. He said no, and some classmates agreed with him and explained why they thought that way.

Now that I think about it, I realize that different people have different moral values depending on their cultural background. Honesty and politeness are both important moral qualities – the former is needed to get an accurate idea of what’s happening in the world, and the latter is needed to maintain synergetic relations with others. And most people would agree with that. But in some situations, these two can get in conflict with each other and the question is “which one should you prioritize?”

Different cultures will answer this question differently. The Swedish and Canadian culture will say that politeness takes priority and that those who choose otherwise are “rude, disrespectful & arrogant”. But Russian and American culture will say that honesty takes priority and that those who choose otherwise are “shy, afraid & confusing”.

I realize that when you interact with other people (for example when selling products to international customers, or pitching to investors), you need to closely observe what moral values are incorporated in their culture. If you prioritize ethical & practical goals differently than your counterparts, then the counterpart will dislike you and it will be harder to get along with them and form a synergistic relationship with them. This synergistic relationship could be customers who could have bought your products. And this synergistic relationship could be investors that could have invested money into your company. And this synergistic relationship could be a lot of other things that could have benefited you.

So if you want to maximize business success, you need to get along with others. And if you want to get along with others, you need to adapt your behavior to their ethical & practical values – within reasonable limits.