Income Reports and Radical Business Transparency: Good or Bad?

I’ve been critical in the past about certain kinds of public income reports by bloggers. My issue with the reports is they put too much focus on money and not enough on substance. They create a comparison game that makes readers question why they aren’t making more money, as if that’s the sole purpose of business.
Money isn’t the point. I’ve argued this before and stick behind it.

But what about transparency in business that goes far beyond income?

Some startups like Buffer and Groove and Basecamp have gone open kimono on many of their intimate details and stats. Money is one focus of the transparency, but they reveal much more, including investment decisions, acquisition offers, employee salaries, equity arrangements and more.

This transparency seems to bring a ton of attention to the companies, which is likely a big reason behind sharing so much in the first place. But the openness also seems to help and inspire other entrepreneurs. I’ve personally used the openness of these companies to help make big business decisions.

When is transparency a good thing, and when is it not so good? Is the transparency of these businesses and certain bloggers altruistic or self-serving, or somewhere in the middle?

I’d love to hear your opinion on this.

What do you think of this level of transparency? When is it good, and when is it bad? Do you think more companies should be this open? What other companies do you know which are sharing intimate details already?

Please share in the comments below.

I'm Corbett Barr, founder of Fizzle and Palapa and co-host of The Fizzle Show. This is where I write about building businesses, living the good life, and doing work that matters. More about me »

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