Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #107

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan from startups dot com joined as ever by my partner, the startups dot com, Ceo and founder Wil Schroder will, this is gonna be a heavy one man. We, you know, most of what we do here. I feel like it's pretty heavy lifting. We dig into some fairly meaty topics. This is one that is circulating the globe right now at, at rapid and rampant pace with good reason, it's time right today, we're gonna talk about sociopolitical issues and their place in the workplace and this is a very loaded topic. Anybody listening will, will probably know there's gonna be some holes in my visibility and will's visibility on this as 2 40 something year old white men, there are perspective that we certainly don't have. So this is me and well, opening the door and saying, hey, if you're hearing things that are incongruent with how you see things or you have perspective that we don't please let us know. I mean, it's, this is always the case with started therapy, right? We always want to hear back, we always want to know, um, you know what's what's jiving and what's not in this case, This could not be more important. Right? So well, you know, we're both having a lot of these conversations right now, but as you're talking to founders, how is this coming up, How are people dealing with this? We've seen some cases of late where this has gone really off the rails. I haven't talked anybody where this has become like a massive internal issue, but everybody's thinking about it and with good reason, but what are the conversations you're having right now,

Wil Schroter: you know, in the past couple of weeks when we're recording this, the most recent incident was with base camp, you know, and they had, they took a very strong stance with their team to say that there aren't going to be any discussions, you know, around society, politics, pretty much anything, you know, anything that wasn't work, it's not on the meeting agenda,

Ryan Rutan: it's not in the media.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, it's it's no longer discussion and they took it off the table unilaterally. And that didn't go well, right? For a lot of reasons, but, but what it did, and I think this is an important part of what we're going to discuss today, It opened up an important conversation. It got a lot of leaders talking, you know, in our case, got a lot of founders talking who are, you know, leaders and their organizations. And I think at its core it was where do you stand on this issue? You know, at its core? We're looking at what is appropriate, You know, what should be a conversation that we have within the workplace and in what we're talking about is public forms right amongst everybody and and what's not and where do you draw the line and for all the folks we've been talking to across genders, across races, across everything, across, you know, different parts of the world, people have strong opinions on it, right? Uh the world of twitter expressed very strong opinions in their response. And I gotta tell you like everything else in life, they were divided. It wasn't what people, you know, some people who feel strongly about, you know, you have to have as much free speech as possible. I just assumed that was that was unilaterally accepted. There's a lot of people that didn't feel that way. Base camp didn't feel that way before them coin based, didn't feel that way. And what I was hoping to do today, I think, you know what we could talk about is where are those lines? You know what what is acceptable but more so how do we talk about it? Because I think there's a bit of an assumption from some folks that this has all been figured out and I'm gonna tell you it has not been figured

Ryan Rutan: out.

Wil Schroter: These are not conversations That I've been having amongst other leaders 20 years ago. Should I have yes, you know, I wish we did. Alright, so before we get into this next topic, I just want to let you know what we talk about here is like 1% of the conversation, you know, really this conversation is going on all day long online at groups dot startups dot com Where Ryan and I pretty much talk endlessly with founders about every one of these topics. So if by the end of this discussion, you like the topic and you want to dig into it a little bit more with Ryan and I just had two groups dot startups dot com and we'll pick it up from there. Of course, of course we'd

Ryan Rutan: be so much further along right now that we wouldn't be having this discussion. Let me restate and something that you just said, because I think it's super important and that's that it's I think people are getting caught up in the the actual opinions being expressed, which of course is important, right? When when when we see polarity, obviously that creates some friction, right? Like what you were saying, I think this is really important. It's how we talk about it, right? The framework that we use for these conversations is in my opinion, as important as the opinions themselves, right? Because how something gets said where it gets said in the context and you know, like you said like twitter, yes, of course that'll blow up because that's not a real dialogue, that's not a human dialogue, you're taking a very, very human as human as a topic can get right and you're boiling it down to these these micro character statements where everybody can, you know, all you can do is be polarizing, right? Um or agree with somebody else's polarity. So the forums for these discussions are super critical, having proper frameworks and understanding how we talk about these issues is at the core of this right? We're not trying to change anybody's opinion. I'm not I don't think you are either. Well, what we're trying to do is say if you have an opinion, maybe here's a framework for how to think about the expression of that opinion and how it will be best received by the people on the other end of the pole. Um so that you can reach some of that common ground, right? Because at the end of the day, like with most things, we'll find that there is far more commonality than there is derision. If you can actually open a forum where all of that can be exposed as opposed to just going, you know, hyper, hyper focused on a singular particular point and allowing that to polarize, right? It's just human nature to do that especially were arguing, but I think it's really important the point you made that it's really the how here that's the supercritical. It's not the what even that we're talking about or the wise, right? Or the points of view, it's how we get there,

Wil Schroter: you know, in in everything that we try to unpack in these episodes and really in our own business and our lives, et cetera. I think what's helped me personally and Ryan, I'm sure you feel the same way is we just keep asking why, right, why is it that way? How did it come to be? You know, how do people feel etcetera. We ask a lot of questions and what I didn't see and kind of the aftermath of the base camp or the coin base, you know, announcements were people saying why, you know, like how did it come to that? Why did you choose? Right? How do you how do you get to this point now? Here here's where it comes off the rails, people get so polarized and so offended so quickly, right? And so you instantly saw the two camps, you saw one camp that said, any kind of, you know, change in speech in the workplace is oppression and you're a whole person. And then you saw the other side that said the work is for work, you know, anybody that suggests that it should be anything else is a horrible person immediately polarized. I saw almost no chatter in between that said, how do we do both? Right? How do we give people the tools in the platform that they need that they deserve? Well, at the same time, not blowing up work, I didn't see any of that. It really pissed me off because in my mind that should have been the heart of the conversation, right? That should that should be what people are talking about is how do we get to these goals? Not how do we shut people off? You know, not not how do we take this kind of staunch stance and I could probably say this about every world issue, but this is about startups and this is about what we as founders deal with. So what I'd like to, to walk through with you today is just a couple areas where this thing starts to fall apart, where founders kind of misstep, where staff kind of missteps in where we can start to have a more productive conversation. So everybody's like, guess what a place they're happy about. And I actually think that place does exist. I don't think this is a shangri la, you know, imagine all the people kind of moment. I actually think this is a very productive, you know, way to get there.

Ryan Rutan: Let me let me kick it up with this, then let me kick it off with a question. Um, so I absolutely agree. And I think that the types of discussions that are happening because they begin with one pole, right? It tends to be somebody who like the the discussion kicks off with something that's that's pretty hyperbolic, right? And it's all the way on one side or the other of the issue. And then in order to create some balance and discussion the other pole comes in, right? And I think a lot of that has to do with the time, the place and the point at which somebody now feels compelled to finally step up and share their polarizing opinion. Alright, so I think that, you know, I can't analogize this down to something quite as simple as passing the ball and soccer, but we always try to have, you know, you want to, you want the triangle right? When it's when you just have to polls, right? Everything is kind of obvious and and and to stark right? There's too much contrast and everybody sort of knows where the person stands and it just ends up becoming this balancing act in this this competition. Um, so we need that third point, right? We need we need the triangle here. We need to be able to enter at a point where there's room, we're creating space essentially, right? We're creating space in the discussion for everyone who falls somewhere else on the spectrum, right there. Neither all the way to one side or the other. But I think that when the, when the conversations begin purely polar, nobody wants to hear that middle point of view. Once both the poles have started arguing, right, it just becomes like this background noise, right? Everybody's paying attention to what everybody all the way on one side or the other is saying, and there's no middle ground and there's nobody that wants to occupy that space, right? It's easier to chip in if I'm one of the people that feels as strongly as the people another poll do, but I don't have that entry point. So what's your opinion this? Well, if these conversations that started earlier and had started with some level of of leadership involvement, how different would they be then sort of letting these happen organically and letting them bubble up to the point where they became as I'm going to say that most of the companies we've seen deal with this, dealt with it at a point where it had already become some level of toxic within the organization,

Wil Schroter: I think from the from management standpoint, so to speak, and I and I hate, you know, doing kind of, you know, these two teams pitted against each other. But let's just call it that for a second, just so people can kind of identify with the the 22 characters in this in this story from management's perspective. I think the idea was their their polarizing position was work is for work and anything else is a distraction. And look, they're not wrong about distractions, prevent work, right? So that's that's I mean, straight up right? It's kind of hard to argue that one what they were missing though was this concept of if I say workers for work and that's true than any policy that I apply toward. That is also true. That's where they messed up right? Those arguments aren't necessarily tied together, right? You could say work is for work. Work trumps all. So if working in productivity is getting done, then the policies are justified, not really right. You could say that policy is to work people 100 hours a week. And if productivity is getting done, I don't care about your mental well being, I don't care. The effect on your family. I don't care about the health and all these things, totally not true.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. The old don't question my methods only question my results piece right? Which is not valid.

Wil Schroter: It never ends well by the way, like yes, you'll get the work done at what cost, right? Because focus has a cost. You. And I have talked about it incessantly on this podcast, right? And typically as a cost, we really wish we hadn't, you know, had to bear to get the results we wanted to get. Sometimes you have to I get that. But this is one of those times we're we're not making a decision about ourselves, right Ryan. If you and I want to work 100 hours and you and I decide that's what we want to do. So be it. But the moment we tell other people they have to bear a cost of focus, right? It's not that simple. And ship gets really complicated at that point. So I think the first point, you know that I like to kind of dig into is this idea that workers for work and if anything that distracts from focus is bad. I know on paper that sounds right. What I want to do is I'd like to get your thoughts on where that argument starts to break down a little bit.

Ryan Rutan: Sure we'll flip it to an issue that we've already kind of dealt with as a society where we get into like women at the workplace issues, right? So think about things like maternity and paternity leave, right? Is a baby a distraction? Yeah. Do we need to accommodate that distraction within the context of work? Yes. Right? Having Children is an important part of a lot of people's lives. And we can't just simply say, uh yeah, no babies at work. Right. By which I mean, I don't have any of them because I don't want you to be distracted from your job for any particular period of time, whether that's maternity or everything that happens after, because it gets far more complicated. Right? That's actually the easy period. You just don't know that as a new parent. So I think that that's that's a, you know, a decent analog here and that everybody would go, yeah, that makes sense. Like we could never do that, but we don't have to rewind too many years to where that was the discussion that was on the table. Right? These were issues that we were dealing with and and working through which I think is just another generally important point to this entire discussion To your point earlier. Should we have been talking about this 20 years ago? Yes. Were we not enough? And so all of this is quite new for most leadership, I would say almost all leadership, you know, there's varying degrees as to who's practicing it? Who's getting it done right? And well, like anything, right? But this is going to take time, this is going to take practice. This is a this is a new muscle that we have not been flexing and it's it's weak, right? So we're going to need some time to get this right? But I think that that's I would jump off there. I would say that like use a policy like that as as the analog is the metaphor for how we look at, you know, where can we draw lines in some cases can we draw lines at all? Right? To your point? We can but they don't really exist. Like if we set the minimum baseline, we draw that line and we say 100 hours, that's that's the work week, We can do that. Yeah, I can draw that line. Is anybody gonna live up to that? A couple of people might for a little while and then everybody's gonna burn out and it's the whole ship goes down in flames, right? So yes, you can do. You want to Probably not, even if not fundamentally, you don't agree with it practically speaking. It's going to have a cost, right? And so I think that's what I'll probably keep coming back to, right? It was your refrain to begin with. But I think I'll come back to it as well. What are the cost of these things going to be to your own mental well being as a founder as you enforce these policies to the team. Um, and then again, like to their families, their friends, society at large, you know, which we'd like to believe that we're separated from and removed from as a startup company. We're not right. Our companies exist within society. All of these people exist within society. So these issues will cross the lines into our company's. Again, the question becomes when how where do we talk about these things?

Wil Schroter: You bet? And and there's there's a point where we can say, well, if you don't like it, go work at another company, right? And to be fair that that stance doesn't have a lot of longevity attached to it, right? I mean, it's it's frankly it's a little bit lazy, but but beyond that, it allows you to say, I don't want to deal with the issue, I don't want to deal with with what people take home, right? All I want to deal with this is what you have at work. And that sounds wonderful. Wonderfully simple. It's just not realistic, right? You

Ryan Rutan: know, if you're running a company built on bots and ai and robots,

Wil Schroter: and yeah,

Ryan Rutan: maybe.

Wil Schroter: And again, where I think this argument breaks isn't the intent? The intent is to say, I just want to get shift done right? Like base camp said specifically, we just want to get work done, right? They weren't wrong about that. And honestly, I don't think people disagree with that, that we also want to get work done. That's why you hired us. I don't know. The implication is that those that are having, you know, they're raising their hand at work saying, hey, you're taking out my voice are tantamount to saying, I don't want to work. I don't think that's true. Again, there are broken assumptions on both sides of this discussion. So the broken assumption on the leadership side is that if it drives focus, then it trumps all. And it just that doesn't hold up. I don't think you can you can blanket policy that

Ryan Rutan: if you flip that just a little bit and you say that, look, some of these issues are directly impacting people's focus there, impacting people differently, right?

Wil Schroter: So

Ryan Rutan: systematic oppression isn't something that I was on the wrong end of right. So it doesn't change my focus in the way that it does for somebody who was in a system where they were systematically oppressed, right? So that is a distraction for them. And so what they're actually doing, if you choose to look at it this way is raising their hand and going, I have an issue, it is creating a distraction because it's making me feel a certain way, um it's making me behave a certain way. It's causing emotional mental physical strife, I need help with this, right? And so I think we can look at those as distractions from the other parties side, right and say like, look, this is really just a call for action and a call for help and saying like, I can't do this by myself, I can't fix this problem. This isn't a problem with me. This is a problem for me because of these greater socio political issues, right? And I think that's fantastic. And I think that received that way, it makes the discussion far easier because you can actually look at this as something that will improve company focus, right? So it's not a distraction or a detriment to company focus. But if it's impacting individuals, it's impacting focus, we know this, right? And it will spread to your point again, like, we can draw some lines, people will cross them, right? You can tell people whatever you want enforcing that will come with varying degrees of cost,

Wil Schroter: you know, by the way, I just want to mention if what we're talking about today sounds like the kind of discussion you wish you were having more often, you actually can, you know, we're online all day every day, working through exactly these types of topics with founders, just like you. So any question you would have, or maybe some problem you just want to work through, we're here and we love this stuff and we're easy to find, you know, head over to groups dot startups dot com and let's just start talking. I think that for a certain number of founders, they'll take everything we just said, and also say, I don't care, right? I mean to be fair, I just want to be really honest, like, like this, this isn't like everyone agrees with with, with the path we're taking. They're going to be a certain amount of folks. I've talked to some of them. That's a look, I appreciate people's issues. But just to be clear, I have yet to meet a single founder or anybody in leadership that was like, I don't care about people's, you know, personal issues or, you know, or depression or anything else that I've just yet to see that happen, right? Although I think people get labeled that quickly, but I've seen a staunch group that says, look, I get it, people have issues, right? I just don't want them to bring them at work. And I think what's challenging with that is it kind of feels like you're putting your head in the sand right to your point about, you know, maternity leave, which at one point didn't exist. Same thing. It's like, yes, have a kid, but pretend that you you don't need to ever take care of that kid or like, you know, raise them from the moment that you bore them. Like as if none of that actually exists, right? I don't care. I just care about work and I pay you to do a job not to make babies right? Like think of it now, how absurd that claim sounds and I don't think, I don't think if you feel strongly that work is for work that it's going to really like not come back to haunt you to understand that that's not entirely true that the argument is broken. So but beyond that, there's then folks that are saying okay workers for work, but I understand that, that there's there's other issues, human issues that that I need to contend with and I want to support, etcetera. And these aren't the evil people, you know, twisting their mustache with a monocle that you're thinking of that like, you know, you know, down with everybody that isn't a middle aged white male. I just haven't seen that. That said, right, and you talked about the top of the episode. Some folks just aren't aware of it. I'll give an example when I was 24 years old and we had a big staff, I was single, I didn't have kids, etcetera. So I remember when people would go home at like 5:00 PMclock to go pick their kids up and watch a soccer game. I was lost on what was happening.

Ryan Rutan: Why would you do that? What is what's happening? What's going

Wil Schroter: on? I was like, Hey johnson, I guess you're taking an early lunch, right? Like I couldn't couldn't write, I didn't say that, but like I couldn't wrap my head around, right? I didn't have context for it right now, I'm freaking old, right? I have kids, right? They come before everything right? There are a lot of people in positions of power that just don't know, and I'm not let them off the hook. What I'm trying to say is it's dangerous to just blanket demonize everybody. You've got to understand that. Like not everybody understands how to address this. Not everybody has the same issues, so, but they're in a position of power that they have to contend with it. And when I say contend they have to create policy, they have to create, you know, you know, union within the company and yet they don't have the tools for it. And so I think it's really difficult for a lot of folks to say, oh, I'm ready to go, I know exactly what to do. They don't, and that's that's a challenge.

Ryan Rutan: Let me prove exactly how male I am here. And use another analogy, sports analogy, if we look at like a boxer, right, they've spent their entire life training boxing up until this point, right? And they're they're good at boxing, right? They can slip a jab, you know, they've got a good hook, whatever, and all of a sudden you throw an M. M. A fighter into the ring with them, there's a new set of consequences that they all of a sudden have to deal with, right? And now you can say man horrible fighter, right? You can do the same thing with leadership. Leadership has been dealing with a particular set of issues for the last 20 years, 30 years and that's roughly like the timeframe in which, you know, management frameworks and things develop and all of a sudden a new set of consequences and in a new set of circumstances been thrown into the mix and they're not dealing with it well and you're going there bad leadership, right? Doesn't mean they're bad leadership doesn't mean they're bad fighter. It means they don't yet have the set of skills, they haven't been exposed to these consequences and circumstances enough to get it right. And so I think to your point early and quickly demonizing people, it's a great way to get rid of leadership, right? It's a great way to get rid of leadership who maybe made a mistake, but if we get rid of leadership at the first mistake, right? Should leadership do the same thing with the first mistake that their staff makes? Of course not, we would look at that when we go, that's ludicrous, right? Brand new. Great! Hired them from the internship program and turned them into our Junior social media marketing manager. Right? And they post something to the wrong channel, you're fired, right? Everybody go like what are you doing? Like it was it was a mistake right now, of course, the bigger the mistake, the greater the consequences, the more public it is, the more likely we are to make those decisions. But if we actually want to solve this, scraping the leadership off the top and saying, let's start fresh, just means you're gonna have more junior leadership trying to deal with bigger issues, I think that you run into a whole new set of problems and challenges there. So we need to be really careful about about doing that, that said,

Wil Schroter: and you

Ryan Rutan: said it, we can't let people off the hook for making bad decisions. But I think we need to be careful to make didn't want to say the punishment fit the crime because again, I think crime implies some level of intent and wrongdoing. Um and I don't think that I think that by and large intentions are good. Are there people with bad intentions? Of course they exist everywhere. However, I don't think that that's the prevailing wind that people are just trying to maintain systemic oppression or trying to maintain status quo. They may be unintentionally feeding into that. So founders who are saying things like I just don't care, maybe accidentally feeding into that. Maybe they're not, I don't know, I don't have answers to this. One of the things I would love is some data around what companies are dealing with this more as we move from. If we look at two ends and we say like here's a company whose absolutely not diverse in whatever way and here's a company who's very, very diversified. Which of those two companies actually has more to win or to lose in getting this right and understand like which one, which one of them are dealing with it more, right? If you have 80 diverse workforce, it's probably, I would assume far easier just to go, I just don't care about this is not really a problem for us, right? Yes. And right. You're part of a larger problem, which is that there's no diversity in your workforce. You have the self imposed blind spot because you're not seeing these issues firsthand. And so of course you don't care because anything that's not in your backyard tends to matter less, right? So my first question would be like, how much of this are you actually being forced to deal with? How much of this are you seeing? When I say forced? I don't mean forced in a bad way. I mean like it's one of our people comes to us with an issue, right? We're open door and we're absolutely open door. Come talk to us about anything, right? And those are great moments. But if you don't even have somebody who fits the profile to walk through that door and have that conversation, it's not gonna happen again. This is all very early. And I'm gonna be curious to see where this lands in terms of like how having a more diverse workforce will will that create more polarity? Will that create more space for common ground? I would hope that it's the latter, but we're watching this play out in real time and we'll just see and something else to note this feels like a very topical issue and actually meant to say this at the top of the episode, this feels very topical, but things like this will continue to come up throughout the lifecycle of a startup. It may not be, you know, the topic that we're kind of focusing on right now, But things like this will continue to come out throughout the life cycle of a startup, right 20, 30 years ago, it was women in the workplace issues, which still aren't fully resolved. I'm not not saying like, oh, we can check that box, we're not there yet. However, we've made significantly more progress on that front, but these things will come backgrounds, This is a very evergreen topic, This is not will. And I leaning on a hot news trend and saying, hey, let's talk about that because that's not really what we do here, right? We want these things to be important tools for you going forward um and carrying you through your entire career as a

Wil Schroter: founder, right? I think what ends up happening though, I think we get frustrated with with, you know, things bubbling up and kind of like Jason and David did they just used the hammer, right, coin based did the same thing they said, you know, no one can talk about these topics in the work place and I think let's talk about why, you know, this idea of just oppressing everything is just a broken hammer, right? You know, something that it's just not effective, it actually doesn't work. And and I'm going to argue it's it's lazy, but I can't account for every single person's situation and why they took that route. I just think in general, it's not the right way to go. Any founder. I would ever counsel I would say that that solves nothing, right? For two reasons. You know, this idea that I'm just gonna say, nobody talks about any of this stuff at work. Here's where it just doesn't work. No one you can't tell people what they can't say. Now, you can say where they can't say it. You have some latitude over that, right? But that's not what people here either, right? What they hear is you're oppressing my free speech right? In the history of history, especially in this country, that does not end well, Right? So there's no version of delivering that message where anybody's gonna say nailed it, nailed it, that, you know, you know what a good oppression speech. That's what we needed here. Like, right? Any any

Ryan Rutan: time you create pressure within a system, right? So anytime you draw a box too small, you're immediately creating pressure and in this case you're you're not only creating pressure. You're creating polarity, right? Because if what you're saying is we only allow opinions that are in the middle that's different than saying, we don't allow any opinions at all right? If we say you can't be, you know, we'll just use the political system. You can't be left wing, you can't be right wing. Um We only allow moderate topics, right? We only allow things that kind of everybody has some stake in. We're not gonna let you go polar, right? That creates a ton of pressure. But in this case where we're saying you're not allowed to talk at all, we're creating that pressure in the system, which invariably boils up and over at some point and you're creating polarity, which is that there's, you know, free speech and then there's fully press speech and we're going this direction. So we're creating polarity and pressure at the same time, Good luck like this

Wil Schroter: is going to blow up in your

Ryan Rutan: face.

Wil Schroter: It doesn't even make sense. Right first off in today's society, Right? How can you tell people what they can or can't say right now and again, I don't have

Ryan Rutan: I

Wil Schroter: don't think anyone who has made one of these policies that was actually the intent of the policy that I heard what you say. The intent is I'm going to try to curb where you say it right in other words, say whatever you want, just don't use, you know, our public chat forms to do it, right? And again, I'm gonna get into Yeah, I'm going to get into, you know, where there's some challenges there, but that's also not what people here, right? When twitter blew up after the base camp announcement or coin base before them. People weren't saying, wow, I really hate the forum that people get to talking, right? We're talking about that, right? What they heard was you are white men telling you know, people of different colors, creeds, genders, et cetera, that they can't express themselves, right? You are oppressors, right? And while that wasn't the intent of their message, it was a pretty bad message by the way. Yeah, that wasn't the intent of the message. That's exactly how it came across, right? Well

Ryan Rutan: de facto that was

Wil Schroter: the impact, right?

Ryan Rutan: That was actually

Wil Schroter: what you intended

Ryan Rutan: or otherwise, that was the outcome of the policy. It was oppression,

Wil Schroter: right? I can't do that. So I want to circle that for a second and say, look, any time where you tell people here's what you can't talk about is off the table, right? We have neither the right to do that or the capability. Like even if we had the right, which we don't right? Dude, how could you possibly prevent people from talking about what they wanted to talk about, right? Like every social media platform exists lunch lunch breaks people oh my God man, If stuff is bothering people, they are going to talk about it and they're probably going to talk about it while they're at work, right? So I think it's like, again, it's putting your head in the sand to think that you have some control over what people talk about at work, I think that's bananas, right? Again, I'll take it further. You also just don't even have the right to what people are talking about. But but here's where it polarizes the other way right now, the leadership, I'm going to take leadership side and they're going to say bullshit. It's my company. I set the policies I determine, you know what dialogue we're going to have and what forms right? I'm the one that writes the checks and therefore whatever I have to, you know, whatever guidelines I set is what people have to either abide by or get out. That is the shittiest laziest policy I've ever heard of, right? Because again, it goes back to I don't care, you know how you feel or you know what aspect of your lives are enraging you. I just care about work and everything else is off the table focuses my my trump card over everything. It doesn't work. And look coin based can make a company that makes it work right? You can force it. It's just you're on the wrong side of where this is headed, right. You're just moving backward and I'm not saying you can't pull it off. Yes, you can base camp just did it. You know the fastest way to get rid of this issue is getting rid of all the employees with the issue, but

Ryan Rutan: that's the wrong

Wil Schroter: approach. It's the wrong tool.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, I agree. And so let's let's boil it down, It comes down to two things at the end of the day, if we're gonna get resolution on this to get closer to it, it's understanding and compromise, right? If we want to create that that room for for both, what is needed in the workplace, which is to get work done, but what's needed at the human level in the workplace is is things like free speech and, and you know, clear feelings, not no oppression, right? All of these all these things that we also want to achieve for the people in the business. It's compromise. It's understanding, right? We talk about what an important muscle it is for founders to have and receive empathy. This is one of those cases where we really do have to try to put ourselves in the shoes of not only our staff, but also society at large, right? And it's tough. It's hard, it's difficult, but we have to have that level of of compromise and understanding and empathy to be able to even have the form to create the room for these discussions in the first place.

Wil Schroter: I think at which point people are so polarized that they say I hear a compromise, I have free speech. There is no compromise on free speech. That's not what we're talking about what we're saying is, look, this person employed you to do something, right? They have certain objectives they're trying to get to, it doesn't make them a total asshole, it just means that like in their minds, hey, if you're going to sit at the water cooler and talk about politics for nine hours straight at some point, they're gonna be thinking we should probably get some work done at some point as well, right? No matter how strongly you feel, we

Ryan Rutan: wanna be able to refill the water cooler, we kind of have to do that, right?

Wil Schroter: Listen man, like the compromise of the understanding is just stepping back saying yes, I feel very strongly about these issues now, tell me what you're trying to get accomplished, right? And most reasonable leadership founders, what have you are going to say? Look, it's not that I want to press. And if you're free speech again, I'm yet to hear a single person say that, but I need to get it done right. And, and some of the stuff you're doing is wildly distracting the folks, right? So how do we give you the voice, the platform you're looking for? But also try to get some my stuff done as well. And if, if the, the employer, you know, staff member or whatever is saying again, unilaterally, I don't care what you have to say, that's a shitty stance, right? There's a lot of things I want to say and do, but there are certain parameters that are best provided for me to do those things, right? And if I just unilaterally kind of steamrolled everyone that has any other feeling, I just don't see that ending. Well, again, I think when I say compromise, I just mean two sides understanding what the other side is trying to get done in trying to find a place in between.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. And and and optimizing the, the outcomes on both sides. Right. Right. We have to remain productive, but let's remain productive in a way that leaves these issues open for discussion. I think that's one of the core things here. Is that again, like polarity, we we sort of understand creates all kinds of issues right? Where things things just get stretched right and things start to tear in the middle and then there's no room for for that compromise, right? But the communication has to exist in the first place. That's one line of this, of this space that we need to create remaining open and understanding is the other one. And again, like to your point, I think it has to come from both sides. It has to be clear that, you know, I don't want to speak for everybody here, but I've definitely seen some situations and this isn't limited to this particular issue, right? Anytime we have these sort of hot issues, you don't wanna end up in a situation where leadership feels like the town is coming after them with pitchforks, right? And you don't want the staff to feel like leadership or the grand oppressors right? There has to be some level of understanding that there may be things that occur on both sides that are sub par for the others in terms of desired outcomes, right? There may be things that leadership does that don't work as well for the broader team. There may be things that the team does that make things more difficult for leadership? I think what has to happen in the moment where those occur is a bit of empathy and a bit of understanding and a bit of perspective from the other side and saying here's why they did that. Now. I think it's really dangerous. We talked about this a couple of times last few episodes, these one sided conversations where like we're imagining the other half of the combo right? The one sided handshake where it's like leadership makes the decision and they believe that just based on the outcomes going back to that, you know, if this if this improves focus, this improves productivity that improves outcomes for the company, the people will sort of understand why we made that

Wil Schroter: decision bullshit.

Ryan Rutan: It has to be stated clearly like we're doing this and we understand that this may be perceived in a certain way based on the current context. Here's why we're doing it right, right, open that dialogue, right. Same thing. If somebody feels the need to bring up a a socio political issue in a workspace forum, let's just say it appears in the company wide slack chat for for sake of argument, right? A little bit of why and a little bit of discussion with leadership before somebody does that and and starts to use the internal communications as a platform would be much appreciated by leadership in most cases, right? It's not always necessary, right? It's okay to bring up things to talk about with your colleagues. However, if you're going to try to use it as a platform would probably be better received if it was taken to leadership first so that they can understand why this individual is doing that and what they're hoping to have the impact beef from this, right? But at the end of the day, you have to have these channels of communication open because, you know, oppression, silence, you know, just putting your head in the sand as you said a couple of times this episode all lead to really, really bad outcomes. Guys,

Wil Schroter: I also don't think they're necessary. Right? For example, again, I think people are a little bit lazy sometimes when they're taking either side of this stance. In other words, if I'm base camp in this case, and my issue is that uh and they stated in their blog post that a lot of people were getting pulled into these these arguments that they just didn't want to be pulled into, they just wanted to be able to have, you know, focus on work, whatever and didn't want to, you know, feel like they were complicit like if they weren't participating, etcetera. And the truth is, okay, let's create some forums for people that want to have those discussions to have those discussions because so we're trying to solve for the fact that not everybody wants to be in those discussions, right? You don't necessarily have to say no one talks about anything, right? Just because you know, some people are pulled in. There's other ways to skin that cat right on top of that. You gotta figure two. There have to be some parameters, right? In anything where like, like, look guys, you also do have to work together, right? So if you're showing up everyday gloves off, ready to beat each other to death, that's not healthy, right? There's there's no version, no matter how much both of you want to express your, your views, you have to be mindful that at some point you also have to work together right now, maybe you can't work together and maybe this, you know, this isn't the environment for you, but let's solve that issue. What I'm saying is on either side, I don't think that the unilateral, anything that's not free speech is oppression is true. And the unilateral. On the other side, anything that's not work, you know, is, is a problem. I don't think either side is essentially true. I also believe that there could be cases we're the folks involved just don't have a resolution. I don't know that every company has a resolution for every employee, some people are just dead set on creating so much disruption with no no consideration whatsoever for anybody else that maybe they're just not a good fit for that particular organization. But I think that's a last resort. Like I think the first thing you do is you sit down and say, what are you trying to accomplish here is what I'm trying to accomplish. How do we try to meet both ends or have some compromise in between. Alright, so that was fun. But let's actually keep this conversation going. You've heard what we think about this. But you know, Ryan and I would really like to hear what you think and we're online like all day long, pretty much talking about every startup topic you could think of from fundraising, the customer acquisition to just really have to get all of this crazy startup stuff out of your head and there's tons of other founders, just like you, they're weighing in on these topics so you'll get a chance to just hang out and meet some really smart founders were also super, super easy to find you head over to groups dot startups dot com and let Ryan and I hear what's on your mind, let's get to know each other a little bit and let's just start having more of these conversations

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