Reading headlines from the World Internet Conference in China, the casual reader might have come away a little confused. China was opening its doors to the global Internet, some media outlets optimistically declared, while others said Beijing was defending its system of censorship and state control.
And perhaps most confusing of all, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook stood up and celebrated China’s vision of an open Internet.
Hardly surprising. This may come as a shock, but with publicly traded companies, you’re not the customer; you’re the product.
Shareholders are their real customers.
Shareholders aren’t their customers. Shareholders are their owners. Theoretically, everything they do should be in service of their shareholders. The things they do for their customers are only done on the expectation that they will produce positive returns for their shareholders.
Its the shareholders, not the customers that ultimately should be controlling a company and how it governs its business. Now as customers, we of course can send a message to those shareholders on how we think the management is doing by deciding how to interact or not interact with the company.
But no, large corporations will not just do what customers tell them, absent some financial motivation.