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Last Update: Wednesday February 26, 2020

Key Idea: Educate in Your World

Like composer Daniel Walker, every business owner must get on a soap box and teach others that stealing ideas is wrong.

Key Question:


Get on your soap box and preach. Putting your thoughts in writing as we suggested in Key Idea #2 and clearly defining your company's intellectual property is the first step to teaching. We give you permission to print this study guide and the transcript and use it in a training session you could do with your employees. Ask employees how you all might best approach teaching customers and suppliers about these ideas.

You can invite your employeese and fellow small business owner to watch this program here. Let's get the message out that ideas are the engine of this economy and as long as there are people who think stealing an idea is not wrong, we have to keep preaching because this criminal behavior will bring our growing economy to a halt.

Q: Why is education more powerful than litigation for most of us?

A: First, we can afford to do it. Second, there are more casual thieves than professional thieves and the casual ones need to be taught and reminded about these ideas. Since everything was free on the Internet at the inception, we all have a lot of work to do to reel in the renegade behavior. There is an entire generation, and some of them are working for your right now, who think that everything on the web should be free. They are wrong and we can be part of an army of truth that calls this bad behavior to account.

Who can you pass this message to? When will you do it?

A: Every business owner in our library has learned that the people they must be taught and taught constantly. Peter Drucker, the 20th century's greatest business writer and philosopher, predicted at the end of World War II that the American worker would become a knowledge worker. Drucker also said that most people learn most of what they learn in life at work. What then are you teaching the people who work around you? Do people have to be taught right from wrong today? Is that one of your new tasks as a business owner? We say yes.

How does a business owner go about teaching business ethics?

The same way we teach any skill or topic. Tom Gegax, who built a business from zero to $200 million in sales saw himself not as the founder or CEO but as the coach and teacher. Tom says that teaching should begin with setting expectations. Second, we need to give employees a reason to learn. Third, give them the information and fourth, provide them with positive feedback as they use the new information.

NOTE: Our editor, Marcia Kern, has been a teacher since 1974. She offers these teaching tips:

  • Most people are visual learners; therefore, have instructions and procedures written down so they can refer to them often. Someone still needs to demonstrate and explain each new task.
  • Teach the tasks a few at a time. Try not to overload the new employee. Give plenty of opportunity to practice each task or skill before moving on.
  • Explain why procedures are what they are. Try to include the greater context in the teaching time so the employee will see the "big picture."
  • If possible, eliminate distractions during training.
  • Be prepared to repeat your instructions. People take more or less time depending upon the skill and experience of the individual.
  • Remember, the average person takes 8 repetitions to acquire a new skill. Remember, some people are faster with some tasks and slower with others. Keep the teaching tone "light" and informal. People learn better with less stress.
  • Instead of asking "do you have any questions?" or "do you understand?" ask "What questions do you have?" Encourage questions, especially when the "learning curve" is high.
  • When pointing out errors, try to focus on one area at a time. If you tell the employee everything he/she is doing wrong at once, he/she may become anxious and not be able to listen as well.
  • Praise often.
  • Check in with the new employee often at first to make sure he/she is performing satisfactorily.
  • Make sure the new employee has someone (or more) to whom he/she can ask for re- teaching or further explanations.
  • Inform the employee on what basis he/she will be evaluated.
  • Keep your patience and your sense of humor.

Think about it

Who can you pass this message to? When will you do it?  How would you implement the four steps to teach ethics?

Clip from: Protect Your Intellectual Property (IP)

Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Seattle: Economies grow when money is transacted for something of value. Theft kills economies and IP theft is a real pandemic.

Lying, cheating and stealing has been going on forever. But now, the other IP (Internet Protocol) has made it so easy to steal, our children and all sorts of decent-loving-gentle people think nothing about "borrowing, using, enjoying" and otherwise ripping off somebody's creative work.

In this episode of the show we visit with the lawyers who argued down Grokster in the U.S. Supreme Court. We visit with a small business owner who is being ripped off, a composer who is figuring it out, and technologists who are waging the war to protect our intellectual assets.

Go to all the key ideas and video...
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Harvester Music

Daniel Walker, Composer and Director

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:
The Arts, Music composition

Year Founded: 2001

Educate in Your World

MARK: We as a society should not allow things to occur on the Internet that we won't allow to occur in real life.

GEORGE: One of the reasons that started is because of the Internet itself, the business models early out offered everything for free. Nobody charged for anything.

HATTIE: Well we couldn't.

GEORGE: You got used to the Internet being free.

HATTIE: There was no way to collect money.

GEORGE: Of course it's free, everything is free. That was the culture this (Napster) was happening in.

BOB: The ability to create and deliver digital content, worldwide in an instant, gives me goose bumps. It's also a double-edged sword. And because that content is delivered digitally, the keys to the kingdom are hanging out there on a pole, and it's really easy for somebody to go and grab those keys.

GEORGE: There has to be a resolution. There is going to be a resolution. It's very free form right now and this is why this is such an exciting area of the law right now.

DANIEL: It's exciting in the sense that you can put your music in front of the public in a way that has never been done before. You don't need big distribution. You don't need big companies to say OK we approve of what you're doing. You can do it yourself.

GEORGE: It really is a marketplace and it does have ideas and information on it as well. It is a bastion of freedom to some extent and that shouldn't be taken away. But just as we live in a reasonably free society, there are still laws that govern our behavior so that it doesn't degenerate into anarchy and that's also important on the Internet.

MARK: They used to call it the Napster generation. The kids who grew up stealing music -- pirating music, and they believe -- they being college students en mass, that it is OK to do this stuff and there is no harm and they are wrong. But they don't believe they are.

GEORGE: Part of the problem is sometimes it is a little easy and exciting sometimes and the Internet is a different animal and we're not quite sure what to make of it quite yet.

MARK: If you really want to stop piracy the most important thing is educating people that it is wrong.

GEORGE: I think that most people are decent and most people will act decently when given the opportunity to act decently.

MARK: If you can live your day saying, am I willing to have transparency in terms of my morality, so my kids, my parents, I can say to them, this is what I did then I think you'll get to where you need to go.

HATTIE: We're really glad you're winning.

GEORGE: So far.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) For complete transcripts of these interviews and for tips on how to protect your intellectual property, come to Small Business

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