Startup CEO's ... listen up.

Awhile back, Rap Genius co-founder, Mahbod Moghadam, "stepped down" as a result of annotations he submitted on his own site. Shortly thereafter, SnapChat CEO Evan Spiegel issued a pubic apology for emails he wrote long before he thought of making those sort of indiscretions disappear like a friendly cartoonish ghost. Luckily, it appears that both men managed to keep their poor judgment from turning into company-swallowing PR monsters.

With all of the attention centered on NFL players lately, CEO's have been given some time to regroup. Which got me thinking, what IS the best way to cover your ass when you're a young, brash CEO with millions to lose?

Just for fun, here are a few things to consider:

  • Reconnect with your "old crew" (the ones you got drunk with). Get them on your side now, so they don't turn on you if things go bad. Who knows, maybe they learned how to code since college and they'll work for options.
  • Obviously, don't show your privates in public. Sad that this needs to be said, Matt Monahan.
  • Don't tweet when you're drunk. Again ... obviously.
  • Don't let the haters talk you into a sip of hatorade. That stuff is addicting and leads to a dark place.
  • If it's not "take your spouse to work" day, don't take them to work. Better yet, if they're crazy, don't let them near your employees--ever.
  • Don't use quotes from 'The Social Network' in your first print interview ... or ever.
  • Gentlemen: If you're well-endowed, skinny jeans might not be your thing. Not really a CEO thing, just a general rule of thumb to anyone listening.
  • Ladies: If you're well-endowed, cleavage = kryptonite. Superman = geeks. Geeks = product. You get where I'm going. Hilary Clinton wears pant suits for a reason.
  • Closed circuit to Donald Sterling: If you're a racist, keep your thoughts for the next Klan meeting, where nobody knows how to operate technology, even if they wanted to.
  • DON'T HIT WOMEN. Or, anyone for that matter. You're a CEO, not a CRIP.
  • People like elephants here in the US. They used to ride them as a kid at the circus. If you shot one, you're the devil. Period.
  • And finally, if you have an opinion ... just shut your trap. Save it for when you're old--like Donald Sterling.

In closing, if you don't heed my advice and you get caught doing something stupid--don't apologize immediately, it just looks like you're sorry for getting caught. Instead, own up. If you must lie, blame everything on your urge to 'disrupt'. Or, say your Twitter account was hacked by misogynistic trolls. People love that stuff.

Published on: Sep 23, 2014
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