Did Charlie Sheen Make Narcissistic Employee Behavior More Tolerable?
Funky @@$ Job Application: This Is What Marketing in HR Looks Like...

Maybe Being Snarky With the CEO is GOOD for Business...And That Fledging Enterprise You Call a Career...

Capitalist Note - I'm re-running this post for a couple of reasons: 1) I was reminded last week that hard emails generally have neutral to negative results (suggesting maybe you ought to coach face-to-face), 2) I just love Andreessen's response to the barb (F-you, signed - your CEO), and 3) My partner at Kinetix (Shannon Russo) reminded me last week that the minion who got snarky with Andreessen is now a partner with MA in a Venture Capital firm called .. you guessed it...Andreessen-Horowitz (who is a commenter also addressed for me last year).

Should you get snarky with the CEO via email?  I would seem a high risk/high return proposition....


I'm Gen X, which means I'm...ahem...maturing...

One of the things I've learned?  Email wars don't really benefit anyone.  I know, I know, you're right about your issue.  No one cares, especially if you start heaving email barbs around Outlooksphere.  Especially if you try to call out those who outrank you, even with a veiled barb.

Case in point, this direct report of Marc Andreessen, who thought he had the high ground, as reported inMarc_andreessen_03 Fortune:

"Ben Horowitz was toiling as an unheralded product strategist at Netscape Communications when he opened a scathing e-mail from his boss, Marc Andreessen. It was the winter of 1996; Netscape's public offering, several months earlier, had ignited the dotcom craze, and co-founder Andreessen had just appeared on Time's cover, sitting on a throne, feet bare -- the very portrait of a cocky 24-year-old tech wunderkind.

But Horowitz was irked to learn that Andreessen had leaked news to a trade publication about an upcoming software release Horowitz's team had been working on. So Horowitz sent the Netscape co-founder a note that simply said, "I guess we're not going to wait until March 7" -- the date of the planned announcement.

The blast back from Andreessen: "We are getting killed killed killed by Microsoft! You're destroying the value of the company and it's 100% server product management's fault. I'm just trying to help. Next time, do the f***ing interview yourself. F*** you. Marc."

Hello... Questions?  No one wins in email wars, except maybe those who have so much power they can tell you that without fear of reprisal.

Thinking about sending the email?  Don't.  Just Don't....


or maybe you should.... KD



Yes, I think that story gets the point across. Vividly. Good reminder for those of us "maturing" and learning how to maneuver more effectively within organizations.


Ah, maturing. I like that euphemism. In the e-mail exchanges there are no winners. In the end, everyone looks bad and you never know where those communications will end up. Pick up the phone people, or better yet walk down the hall. If you do have to send an e-mail response...wait. How long? Until you are no longer mad/upset/annoyed/etc.

We all go about it differently, but the reality is that most folks are trying to do the right thing. That can just get lost in the perception.


next time just punch him in the face.... youll prolly be better friends after words

Upendra Poranki

Hi :)

But I think this is a wrong example.Because the very same employee who wrote that email later became a very good friend of the CEO. Both of them went onto start a billion dollar company together...got very rich together and are now partners in a Venture Capital firm called ..guess what..Andreessen-Horowitz.

So may be its not so bad afterall...to speak up to the CEO... especially coz when he realizes you are as passionate as him about "his" company...more often than not it leaves a good impression...

But then again..there is no Black or White...a lot depends on the maturity & thinking of the people involved..


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