Interesting. I didn’t support the guy’s views on gay marriage, but I was excited to see how someone with his technical expertise could lead the company. If it were up to me, I think he should have stayed if he was truly the best person for the job as long as his views didn’t affect the way he did his job.
EDIT: Especially given the statement in his personal blog post a few days ago, I think he should’ve been given a better chance.
That post said he would not “ask for trust free of context” and should be allowed to “show, not tell” but then his next actions were to refuse to discuss his position except in a 1:1 setting, and to essentially double-down on his intolerance with a weird justification about Indonesia.
The showing was all too telling. It was really that which disqualified him from the job.
CEO, even of a technical company, is not simply a technical position, it’s a position as a leader, a figurehead, a frontman, an ambassador. Mozilla faces multiple challenges in the coming months and years that will require someone skilled at these sorts of social politics and navigating passionately held views (cf DRM, mp4 etc).
That their CEO couldn’t even manage to navigate this with his own position - that he in effect put his head in the sand and refused to discuss it or even attempt to justify it - boded poorly for his ability to do it for the entire organisation.
The “if you disagree with me you’re oppressing poor Indonesians who can’t speak for themselves” thing is what really pushed me over the edge. What an asshole. I can’t imagine this having played out any other way, his response was pathetic and deserving of contempt.
My question: Does this new age of moral purity scale, or will we have to know all the politics of everyone we associate with?
“New age of moral purity”? Give me a break.
People in high profile positions are expected to avoid controversy, because nobody likes controversy. News at eleven.
I haven’t been following this story, though I learned a high altitude version of it via osmosis somehow.
Here’s all I know so far:
I get that there are a lot of people upset by his stance on prop 8, but I don’t really see any connection between his personal views and his ability to lead Mozilla.
Serious question: What am I missing?
I think part of the reason the anger intensified was Eich’s relative lack of action/inability to get in front of the issue. When he finally did to an interview on the subject, it was several days after the announcement, well after everyone was up in arms, and the summary was “I don’t really want to talk about it, it’s my personal belief.”
Now, on the one hand, I can understand the desire to separate personal beliefs from public life, but on the other, that’s a very – sorry to use the term – privileged response. What he’s essentially asserting is that “I get to try to effect your personal life, and you shouldn’t be allowed to question me for it.” This – at least – was the response of the community of people who felt that Eich was in the wrong. I think also there was a sense of Eich trying to have his cake and eat it too – saying (paraphrase), “Mozilla is an open organization which support LGBT equality” is disingenuous when you – the newly minted leader of that organization – have shown evidence that you don’t. Like it or not, personal opinion and belief are relevant, since they will inform your decisions as CEO.
Ultimately, he didn’t step down because he felt bad, or as some act of contrition – he stepped down because of bad PR. When big sites start telling you to use other browsers because of your CEO’s stance on gay rights, it doesn’t matter whether or not the CEO is going to make all future decisions perfectly and solve all of the worlds problems, ultimately, people won’t buy/use your product, and that’s not something Mozilla wants or can afford. From the second this happened, Eich’s response was slow, somewhat arrogant, and ultimately poor politics – which is to be expected, since he’s an engineer and not someone necessarily interested in being a politician – but ultimately a CEO is just a politician of sorts, and Eich’s relative inability on that front could not be made up for by his ability as an engineer.
(the last part was in jest, mostly).
Eich’s relative lack of action/inability to get in front of the issue. When he finally did to an interview on the subject, it was several days after the announcement,
You are presumed guilty until proven innocent. Also, there is a time limit of 48 hours in which to present your case. Unless somebody on twitter comes up with a catchy hashtag, then you only have 24 hours. Unless you are getting on a 12 hour flight with no internet access, then you only have those 12 hours.
This isn’t the law. This is politics – he failed to get out ahead of a story, that’s not a good thing. Reason is not the realm of the crowd. I don’t like it any more than you but – that’s the state of the world we’re in. Again, I was answering the OP’s question as honestly and objectively as I could – that’s why he got booted. I don’t necessarily think it’s right, I don’t really think much of it at all. I frankly couldn’t care less who the CEO of Mozilla is.
My intention was to state my understanding of why he got ousted, not to lay judgement on the society which ousted him.
Understood. I’m responding to the mentality behind the words I quoted, not necessarily you. I find internet justice very distasteful, even when I agree with the results.
Off-topic: I like lobste.rs – on reddit, this would have been a much longer, and much less polite, interchange.
On-topic: I find it pretty difficult to separate myself from how heartily I disagree with Eich. I also dislike the common mob-mentality, but at the same time it occasionally mobs in my general leftward direction, and it’s hard not to feel justified in hatred. I strongly dislike this, it’s perpetrating the same underlying problem – that people base their choices not on facts, but on beliefs and opinions. This happens in a wide variety of controversies in the tech world, and between it and the widespread false-difference fallacy everyone seems to love so much, it only ever ends up in a lot of rabble-rabble and egg on everyone’s face; and usually no substantive change to actually fix the problems that lead to the controversy.
 As a note, it is possible to treat someone with honest empathy, but also doubt the veracity and magnitude of their claim – but this is a can of worms for another day.
how is the expectation that public and private life be separate “privileged”? do you know of one “ordinary person” who supported prop 8 and lost his job as a consequence?
it was an ugly mob. pseudo-intellectual excuses don;t make it any prettier.
here’s where the symmetry breaks down - you do not need to even be aware of prop 8 for your life to be affected by it. it is predicated on the idea that people in same-sex relationships should be legally treated as lesser than people in opposite-sex ones, for no better reason than that it’s the current status quo.
on the other hand, the proposition literally does not affect eich’s life in any way. there is nothing he can do that he would be unable to do once same sex marriage was legalised, nothing that would be taken away from him, nothing that would even affect him other than the distressing knowledge that someone, somewhere had been granted equal rights. and yet, he spent $1000 so that people fighting against gay marriage would have a better chance of getting their way. i don’t think that actively working towards something that makes no difference to him but that negatively impacts other people really counts as “private life”.
Very well explained. Couldn’t agree more.
I was merely summarizing the views that led up to him stepping down / being forced out.
To more directly answer your question (again, summarizing the community of people who were angry about his personal views) – the idea of ‘privilege’ might well be defined as ‘a double standard held against a class of people’. That is – the double standard they perceived (especially after his interview) was that for them to question his personal views/beliefs was out-of-scope, but for him to question theirs was fine. I’m not sure if I totally agree with the application in this case, but I can see where they’re coming from.
Ultimately, I was merely answering the question – these are the facts-in-evidence as to why he ultimately stepped down/was forced out. Whether or not you agree is up to you.
Minor point, he didn’t get hired by Mozilla, he founded Mozilla.
he didn’t lie to pacify the mob. apparently that’s what you have to do. because, apparently, we value tolerance so much we can’t tolerate someone whose personal views we don’t agree with.
A very large amount of bad PR outside of mozilla and negative sentiment within mozilla caused this with resigning board members and others. It’s very unfortunate, since if it was an obvious protected class thing such as being mormon or similar, he wouldn’t be experiencing this.
Imagine this headline: New CEO of large company in Utah steps down because of negative backlash of not being Mormon.
This is a ridiculous false equivalence. How is being a homophobic bigot similar in any way similar to being an LDS?
It’s a bit more complicated than I make it sound but Brendan was really more of a co-founder of Mozilla alongside Mitchell Baker. Eich was the technical lead, Mitchell handled the administrative and legal side of things.