If I Were Running A Company…Mozilla

Written by Tracy

Brendan Eich resigned from Mozilla as their CEO. The likely reason was Eich donated money for Proposition 8 in California, banning same-sex marriage in the state. When he was announced as CEO, a few executives resigned and there were protests of his hire. A couple weeks after he was hired, he’s out. While, I disagree on Eich’s stance on gay marriage, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to work with him.

Why Mozilla and Eich agree to “part ways” is the potential backlash of decrease users and revenue. I bolded “potential” because we have no idea the actual effects of Eich’s political background that would hurt Mozilla. Unless Mozilla has in-depth statistics that more gays use Mozilla, I find this to be fickle on the protestors and on Mozilla.

Why does it matter your CEO spend money on a stance you don’t like? It is his right of what he wants to do. It is your right to have a voice. However, if Eich intentionally created rules and guidelines about limiting gays getting benefits and pay, that’s a different story. As far as I know, I don’t think he was limiting certain people and if it were the case, he would not being hired in the first place.

This is about some people’s groupthink: people want to work with the same beliefs, the same favorites, same activities, and others. It’s ironic that when we encourage diversity, we encourage to have more people of color and women in leadership roles because it’s great for “diversity” initiatives. You’re hearing the same thing on Letterman’s successor. What about the best person for the job? Would the best person, no matter the sex and color, be open-minded on the business instead of the politics of the business?

There are organizations that are slanted, which is fine because they want to establish that culture. However, in most businesses, it is about their product and services. Here’s the secret in business: when you talk with someone for B2B, it’s someone you want to talk to. Businesses understand diversity is not to cover affirmative action, but to cover different audiences. What Brendan Eich did wrong is standing up to his beliefs and he got ridicule. What everyone else did wrong was a lack of tolerance. If there is no tolerance, you can’t have diversity, which everyone wants. We (including myself) still need to learn that lesson.

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  • Thanks for the post Tracy, I see this a little bit differently. If I were running the company, I would have tried very hard to not hire him to begin with. Diversity of identity, experience, perspective can all be really, really valuable to an organization, but there has to be a strong enough container to deal with the tension and conflict that comes with this greater diversity. A big part of that “container,” is shared values. If an organization really values diversity and inclusion it can’t really have a CEO that is actively supporting discrimination against a particular social group. Now, I think there are a whole lot of executives that do not get fired for not actually being aligned with organizational values, but that is probably another conversation. I have had a number of people suggest to me that this is so-called “reverse-discrimination.” Discrimination is biased treatment based on your real or perceived identity, this situation is about actual behavior and there are consequences for behavior.

    • Joe- I agree with your assessment and I thought if the board knew Eich was paying for Prop 8, he wouldn’t get hired. I put fault on whoever didn’t do a complete background check on Eich.

      What I have issue is when Eich is hired, you need to give him room and what his agenda was. The Prop 8 payment hurt him, but want to see if he was consistent with his beliefs to the workplace when he was in power. I was more upset that someone in Mozilla, after Eich resigned, mentioned he needed sensitivity training on LGBT. Eich never had hatred towards LGBT, but I don’t think he was comfortable with it.

      On one hand, Eich got caught and has to own up, which I agree with. On the other hand, I think people cannot make it worst by telling them to do something they don’t believe in.

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