Rules of Life #4 : Willingness to Break the Law is both a Tactical and a Strategic Advantage
Anyone who has courted investors, whether raising capital to start a new venture or soliciting investment in an ongoing enterprise knows that one of the most fundamental considerations as to the value of a business is whether there are "Barriers to Entry" which will effectively prevent or at least limit competition.
The shibboleth of the law is such a barrier. For example, no business could be easier than selling illegal drugs. Buyers will seek out the seller, pay any price, and return again and again no matter what the quality of the product. No advertising, no promotional effort, and no quality control are necessary. The only thing that allows the seller to command high mark-ups, often in excess of 100% to 150%, the only thing limiting competition, that is, is the law. Most people are too afraid of the consequences of getting caught to follow such a career. Those too timid to break the law can only sit on the sidelines and watch with envy as the courageous rake in fortunes without any serious effort or skill.
Similarly, anyone with a two-bit piece of software developed for a smart phone can take on an entire existing industry which is itself bound by laws and regulatory bodies, capture their business, ruin them, and condemn their workforce to unemployment: governments, whether municipal, state, or federal, refuse to enforce the law against new companies that use mobile phones connected to the internet to effect transactions formerly effected in person, by correspondence, or by telephone. Shortly after I began my career as a stockbroker in Manhattan, businesses began using a new technology, "fax machines" to send documents over telephone lines, rather than sending them physically through the mail. For a while we were forbidden to accept a fax in lieu of a signed document; then we could accept a fax and act on it as long as we were assured that an original was to follow by mail immediately. Finally laws were amended to allow us to accept a faxed document as if it were an original.
Such coy legalities are ancient history now. New companies blithely violate all manner of laws and are allowed to proceed by acquiescence on the part of government. Today I heard on the BBC an interview with a man who has started a business transferring funds among countries all over the world, completely circumventing existing financial institutions by charging money against one mobile phone and crediting it to another. If you thought the "mortgage meltdown" of 2008 brought the international banking system close to catastrophic failure, wait until money moves freely around the world without paying any fees.
No business or industry is immune to this threat of outlaw internet raiders. It began, so far as I know, a couple of decades ago when Napster destroyed the recording industry. How quaint that its founder had to face trial and eventually punishment for violating copyright and other rights belonging to an artist. Nowadays piracy, theft, corruption, and all manner of lawlessness are de rigueur for any young entrepreneur.
Don't be a sap: if you want to succeed, turn to crime. After all, why be a man when you can be a success?*
After all, with enough money, you can easily get away with murder -- just ask O.J.
* I have seen this rhetorical question attributed to Bertold Brecht, but cannot cite a specific source. Note that the word for man in German is "mensch" and that it denotes not just a gender but a noble sense of righteousness and honor as well. That sense, though largely lost from the English word, survives in such phrases as "be a man about it" or more currently, "Man up!"