Do the Right Thing

As product managers, we often obsess on the potential business outcomes our development investments will generate. A recent development at reminded me of the importance of also doing what is right, regardless of the business benefit. It started when someone from a non-English speaking country asked me if our online courses have subtitles. I was deeply embarrassed that the thought of providing them had never even crossed my mind.

That day, Daniel, my partner, and I set a goal to publish all of our audio/video content with closed captions or a transcript. What's the business case behind our decision? There isn't one. I don't care if it ever makes us an incremental penny. It's simply the right thing to do for people with disabilities and, of course, those who struggle to understand spoken English. It's added a significant amount of work to our already overburdened schedules but we're committed to getting it done. I hope others generating audio/video content will consider doing the same.

What have you done for your product lately that was motivated by doing what you feel is right? I think that if we're creative, we all have an opportunity to make such investments. For where we sit, it feels really good.

BTW, I realize some will interpret this post as "virtue signaling" but I couldn't care less. If it gives anyone else some food for thought, or, even better, inspires them to do something, it was worth it.