By now you may have heard I fucked up, and people are calling me a creep.
And I probably deserve to be called a creep.
So, what did I do?
With respect to the NYT article above and Sarah Kunst specifically, I’d like to sincerely apologize for making inappropriate advances towards her several years ago over drinks, late one night in a small group, where she mentioned she was interested in a job at 500. While I did not offer her a job at the time, a few days/weeks later I did refer her to my co-founder Christine Tsai to begin a formal interview process with 500, where Christine and others on the team met with her.
It was my fault and I take full responsibility. She was correct in calling me out.
For these and other incidents where I have been at fault, I would like to apologize for being a clueless, selfish, unapologetic and defensive ass.
I’m ashamed I didn’t change my behavior until I was forced to do so by circumstance and by others. The reality is, I was stopped from further bad actions by those who spoke up about my offenses, at substantial risk to their personal and professional reputations… and subsequently, by Christine and others on the 500 team.
I won’t try and thank any of those folks right now, or act like I wanted that ass-kicking. But yeah… guess I kinda needed that.
When confronted about what happened, I was at first defensive. What did I do wrong? We were just hanging out! Why are people so upset? I tried to present my crappy behavior in the best possible light.
I didn’t have much empathy for the people I hurt and offended, and rather than face up to my own shallow motivations, I rationalized my actions and came up with reasons to find blame in others, rather than solely with me.
I wasn’t full of goodness and light as I thought, and I needed to take a closer look at the stranger in the mirror staring back at me. Somewhere, I had lost the plot.
As a result of the above intervention, I agreed to hand over day-to-day management of 500 to Christine, and she is now leading 500 in the new role of CEO. My role has been limited to focus on fiduciary obligations to our investors as a general partner of our funds.
In the next few days as I get feedback from many (many) people, I plan to speak further with Christine and the 500 management team, our investors and advisors, and others to figure out the best possible outcome for 500. As this is a group of hundr of people and companies, I would not want my individual interests to overshadow what is best for them (not me).
Despite my many mistakes, I sincerely hope 500 will be able to continue that mission. To the extent my actions have now made that more difficult, I am truly sorry to Christine and the 500 team, to our founders and investors and partners, to the larger global tech community, and again most specifically to the women I have hurt or offended, all of whom I have clearly failed.
And I know “sorry” means absolutely nothing right now.
Again, what I did was wrong.
It wasn’t and isn’t acceptable. I’m working on behaving differently in the future.
If you have suggestions or feedback or criticism, I’m open to hearing all of it. I’m guessing you probably have some.
Thanks again to everyone who has ever helped me/us along the way to 500.
Please continue that journey.