Leading the Ethical Software Movement: Integrity
"Our brand promise, Leading the Ethical Software Movement, highlights how Metal Toad advocates an ethical approach to creating technology and doing business. Ethical software is not about our ability to craft the most elegant solution — though that is also critical to our success. It means doing right by Clients, partners, each other and society" — Corinna Gelster-Borgardt, Creative Director, in "Metal Toad's Process to a Brand Refresh.
My late Grandad Ian, a big-bellied, curmudgeonly Scotsman, accidentally taught me one of the most important lessons in integrity I’ve ever learned.
In 2001, he came to visit my family from his home in England, right around the time of the Super Bowl. Coming from New England with the Patriots playing in the big game, we watched in the company of friends, family, and neighbors. My next door neighbor and former partner in crime, Kyle — aged 12 at the time — proposed a bet with my Grandad during the game. If the Patriots won, Kyle would win $5; if the Rams won, Grandad would win $5. There was a serious handshake, and the night went on.
The game got late, and we all split ways before the end result. The Patriots ended up winning, my grandparents returned to England, and life went on as normal.
What happened three weeks later was not monumental. It was not life changing, spectacular, or even particularly memorable. Three weeks later a 12-year-old boy, my neighbor Kyle, received $5 in the mail. Postmarked from across the pond, my curmudgeonly old grandad kept his promise.
It may not seem like much, but small acts like these shape the true nature of integrity. Heck, he probably spent more sending the money 5,000 miles across the ocean than on what the envelope contained. In my Grandad's case, keeping a deal made with a 12-year-old boy who had likely forgotten all about it moments after the handshake showed the lasting impact of integrity. I still remember it to this day. It’s the principle, not the action itself, that makes it so special.
That experience of integrity exemplifies what we strive for here at Metal Toad every day. We want to commit to small acts of integrity, to support our clients, and to better our industry. Our focus is to deliver on promises, act in the interests of our clients and community, and own up to any mistakes we may make.
I’ve seen many examples of each of these here, and we wear it all on our sleeves. We have delivered projects over budget on our own dime to complete our clients' visions. I have seen Joaquin, our CEO, meet for an hour with a client who we told not to use Metal Toad because another vendor, a competitor, could serve them better. Our internal skills didn’t match up with their ask, and we didn’t and wouldn’t try to sell them on something they didn’t need. I’ve also seen our company make mistakes. Costly mistakes. Timely mistakes. But always mistakes that we have owned up to, addressed, and remedied. We as a company can’t be perfect, but we can collectively try to acknowledge and learn from our hiccups.
It is our obligation to our clients and our community to maintain our integrity, and it is key to leading the ethical software movement. Without it, we inevitably let our biggest advocates down — the ones who keep these big orange doors open.