Tech & Liberalism

Do you have to be cultural liberal to lead a tech company nowadays ?

It does feel this way following the recent Brendan Eich appointment as Mozilla’s CEO and his subsequent resignation following the uproar his $1,000 donation in 2011 to California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay and lesbian marriages in the state, created.

OKCupid’s campaign asking Firefox-using members to switch browsers due to the new CEO’s being “opposed to equal rights for same-sex couples” was both a great PR stunt and a disgrace.

Mozilla’s manifesto is in support of free flow of information and protests to government spying. It is solely about promoting openness, innovation and participation on the Internet. This does not make it a “civil rights organization,” nor does it imply that it has any view on gay marriage.

If Mozilla was discriminating against gays in their hiring practices, for example, I would understand where OKcupid was coming from. But publicly shaming a professional for a private opinion is disgraceful.

Whether this opinion is political, religious, social or even environmental is not the point. What a professional says or does when he’s not on company time should not be held against him professionally.

I know many tech CEOs hold liberal or libertarian ideals, but I do not believe one need to be a cultural liberal in order to lead a tech company. And I find the act of castigating a CEO for not holding the same ideals as the majority of the industry as unsavory from an ethical point of view.

Being intolerant in the name of tolerance does not make it right.


I came across this graphic on AVC today.
As soon as I saw it, I had to share it here.

Bottom line is that one just need an idea, and the guts to follow it through.
I guess I’m just like the pictogram of the dude above the 35 mark.
Searching for my idea.

Essays on Malaysia

If you got 30mn ahead of you, I highly recommend reading these two essays :
Part 1: Pirate princes, scattered kingdoms and lost majesty
Part 2: How citizenship as a privilege shapes fundamentalist nationalism

I really liked both and learned a lot from it. But also felt that the author was painting an ideal picture of what Malaysia used to be before the British, who classified everyone in a few categories (broadly Malays, Chinese, Indians and “Others) which set the stage for the federations’ initial agreement and constitution. A sort of “natural” state that was perverted by the colonizing force, and is due for a come back given the advent of democratic ideals in Malaysia. I don’t know enough of this beautiful country’s history to decide whether this narrative is on the money or not. What do you think ??

FYI, I also created a topic on Expatypus : The ungrateful Malaysian

Keynes and Hayek

These two great men had more in common with each other than many today recognize. Would they disapprove of what their students made of their doctrines ? I think so.

“Almost everyone who mouths off about Keynes and Hayek hasn’t read a word of either. Isn’t it amazing how Chapter IX in the Road to Serfdom, in which Hayek supports comprehensive, government-provided social insurance, including health care, seems to have escaped notice by those who claim to love the book? Isn’t it amazing how Keynes advice to the British government on how to finance itself after the war, with a balanced operating budget over the cycle, has vanished, too? Keynes would be horrified at what the Keynesians wrought – huge deficits in good times and monstrous deficits in bad.

But where Keynes and Hayek are without question blood-brothers is in their insistence on the central importance in economics of [Knightian] irreducible uncertainty. You cannot assign a meaningful probability to such variables. Of course, economists have ignored this necessary core of both Hayek and Keynes, precisely because reality blows their tidy little mathematical models to hell.”

bampbs - commenting on Keynes and Hayek

Musings of an expat living in South East Asia