Why Companies Operating at the Edge of Legality Are the Future

Chris Herd
4 min readMar 22, 2019

The best ideas generally look terrible at conception due to the obstacles they must overcome to achieve success. To build innovative and revolutionary products or services you need to be pursuing things that are counter-intuitive, appear destined to fail or aren’t legally permitted.

When I say ‘aren’t legally permitted’ I don’t mean things which are illegal. I refer to things which there are no laws against but know you are operating against the spirit of what the existing legislation permits.

Find what is currently legally permitted and explore the consequences of taking that a stage further

The biggest innovation’s that have occurred in recent years have been because of this. You see the rise of Uber and recognize that it was operating on the periphery or legality in every jurisdiction. The taxi industry is a heavily regulated and scrutinized industry for obvious reasons — public safety — but Uber thought they could provide a better service at a lower cost to the end user.

So they just did it

It’s far better to ask for forgiveness having done something wrong than to ask permission and wait for it to come not knowing whether it ever will

The blow-back you are seeing now in relation to companies operating in the ‘Gig-economy’ is simply a manifestation of legislators trying to catch up. These companies innovate quicker than the government can keep up.

They started something without considering any possible objection to what they were doing. When objections inevitably arose they were able to negotiate from the point of having started something which was successful and the public loved.

Had they asked for permission, Airbnb and Uber wouldn’t exist because they wouldn’t be allowed to operate the way they do now. Their business models and success are as a direct consequence of shaping the regulation that will arise to govern their innovation. They set a baseline and forced the government to conform to their new paradigm instead of the other way round.



Chris Herd

CEO / Founder / Coach @FirstbaseHQ Empowering people to work in their lives not live at work ✌️✌