It's happening again: Condoleezza Rice and Dropbox

On April 9th, Dropbox announced that Condoleezza Rice will be joining their Board of Directors.

http://www.drop-dropbox.com/

Hacker News chatter:
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7566069
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7565546

etc etc

thoughts?

This will be no surprise, but my view is precisely the same. She should be judged on her leadership not her personal life.

I do worry about the trend that could set in ever since the Eich thing broke.

Speaking of which, we discuss Eich’s resignation in http://www.badvoltage.org/2014/04/10/1x13/

Like Dick Cheney should be judged on his masterful leadership of Haliburton but not invading Iraq… cause the two of those have nothing to do with each other.

Well, to be fair, and I am no Bush/Cheney fan at all (quite the opposite), we don’t know that the Iraq invasion and Haliburton were connected. I am extremely sceptical of a war being sanctioned to benefit Cheney’s company. Now, if a war is sanctioned for other reasons (e.g. fear of terrorism), it doesn’t surprise me at all that the companies closely related to the White House get first dibs with goods and services related to the war. That is just business, frankly.

If you are of the view that anything in anyone’s personal life could affect their career, then we are basically not allowed personal lives that step beyond the corporate culture of who we work for. It presumes that people cannot be professional and keep person and professional separate, and I don’t believe that is true. In fact, I have worked with many people who keep their personal and professional lives quite separate indeed.

The latest iteration of the ‘War on Terror’ started with Bush, who brought in the Patriot Act to ‘protect’ everyone’s freedoms but actually did the opposite as well as essentially officially stripping away whatever remaining privacy Americans had (not to mention foreigners who are already considered subhuman by the American government).
If you have a person who is predominantly known for being an apologist for Bush who is now going to be sitting on the board of a company that is supposed to safe guard people’s data and tell the government to f-off when they come looking for private data… Is Condi going to tell her government pals to f-off when they come knocking on her door?

But you do at least acknowledge that at some point what a person does in there personal life does make them a suboptimal option for certain positions, correct? In this particular case, I get what Dropbox was going for. A high profile non-tech board member proves to some that they are now a serious grown up company. Additionally, I’m sure a desired growth segment for them is the Government market. From those perspectives, adding Rice to the board makes very good sense. BUT, consider what Dropbox does as a core business and then consider how fundamental privacy and security are to the company’s success. Surely the fact that Rice was integral to and has since vociferously defended the warrantless wiretapping program at a bare minimum calls the selection into question. Right? Right??

–jeremy

But you do at least acknowledge that at some point what a person does in there personal life does make them a suboptimal option for certain positions, correct?

I think the key determining factor is whether there is any evidence of the individual letting their personal life influence their professional life. For example, in the case of Eich, from what I have seen, there is zero evidence he would have discriminated against gay mozillians. If there was evidence, I would see him stepping down as far more justified.

In this particular case, I get what Dropbox was going for. A high profile non-tech board member proves to some that they are now a serious grown up company. Additionally, I’m sure a desired growth segment for them is the Government market. From those perspectives, adding Rice to the board makes very good sense. BUT, consider what Dropbox does as a core business and then consider how fundamental privacy and security are to the company’s success. Surely the fact that Rice was integral to and has since vociferously defended the warrantless wiretapping program at a bare minimum calls the selection into question. Right? Right??

The Dropbox example is different as this related to her professional experience. I don’t deny anyone thinking she is not a good fit based on her professional experience in the government (the wire-tapping piece being a sound example).

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.