President Trump's latest executive order that would limit who may enter the U.S. doesn't cite Stockholm or its residents, but that doesn't make Dave Gilboa--a Swede by birth--any less concerned.
"Obviously, Sweden is not one of the countries on the list, but I think what makes this country great is that it has been so inclusive over time," said the Warby Parker co-founder and co-CEO, in a wide-ranging Inc. live chat on Wednesday.
"As we look around our company, one of the reasons we have been successful is that we have a lot of diversity on the team, in every sense of the word."
What's Gilboa's advice for Trump, ahead of this week's 'Tech Week,' which is expected to involve giant-company execs like Apple's Tim Cook and high-profile venture capitalists? Stop trying to curb immigration to the U.S.
"This type of thinking--and potentially policy making--is a step in the wrong direction and something that goes against my personal values [and] our core values as a company," Gilboa told Inc. "It hits close to home."
The co-founder of the New York City-based eyewear company is hardly the only entrepreneur feeling increasingly comfortable voicing his discomfort with how the country is being run--even though doing so used to be largely unheard of. The school of thought used to be something along the lines of: There's no way you can please everyone--your customers, for instance, may have differing views--so it's probably best to just stay out of politics. But that was before Donald Trump entered the White House.
In addition to Trump's proposed executive order, which would temporarily prevent citizens of six predominately Muslim countries from entering the U.S. and halt refugee resettlement, a range of issues have given founders pause. Among them are Trump's effort to clamp down on the number of H-1B visas, which technology companies rely on for hiring skilled workers from other countries, and his attempt to rollback net neutrality rules.
Of course, President Obama, too, sparked his fair share of protests from the technology community. The tech industry came out in support of Apple last year, after it was revealed that the FBI attempted to retrieve the phone data of the San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.
Yet the pushback within the tech community for Trump's anti-immigrant sentiment has been uniquely intense. Collectively, hundreds of entrepreneurs and executives have protested Trump's efforts to stymie immigration. They've authored letters and signed on to amicus briefs. Individually, CEOs dispatched memos to staff and launched events aimed at triggering greater community and understanding of immigrants' roles in the U.S.--particularly in entrepreneurship. Their biggest argument: Immigrants fuel innovation, and preventing them from coming to the U.S. could ultimately harm America's tech industry.
Indeed, said Gilboa: "We think [the travel ban] will just hurt the competitiveness of the U.S. and really slow down innovation. We don't see any positive of this type of thinking or action."
For more of the conversation with Warby Parker's Dave Gilboa, you can watch the full video here.