Tag: Chamath

05
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Chamath Palihapitiya responds to Coinbase controversy: Get a soapbox

  • Well-known venture investor Chamath Palihapitiya said on his “All-In” podcast that employees should be able to have free-form debate on any topic, on one condition — they should have to speak from a physical soapbox.
  • The investor was responding to the Coinbase controversy where Brian Armstrong told employees in a memo last week that politics and social causes had no place at the company.
  • “You put the soapbox someplace — in a safe space — where you can go and you can talk and people who want to listen will listen, and people who need to work can work, and people who don’t want to listen don’t have to be forced to listen,” Palihapitiya said on the podcast.
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The head of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, created a firestorm in tech last week when he told employees in a memo to leave their politics and social causes at the door. Social causes were a “distraction” from the company’s mission, he wrote, and he later told employees that anyone not on board with this apolitical policy would be offered severance.

Venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya has a suggestion for founders like Armstrong running companies in these divisive times.

Put a literal soapbox in the office.

That’s what the founder of Social Capital said on his podcast, “All In,” on Friday. Palihapitiya, perhaps best known for his investment in Slack, said companies would be better served having their employees express their ideas in a designated space on campus, where people who want to participate in the discourse are able to and those who want to focus on work can tune it out.

He said companies should “allow 100% free-form debate about anything.”

But, he suggested imposing “one condition. You literally need to have a soapbox and like in