Developing Leadership
Developing Leadership
Walking The Tightrope of Language & Culture (and why it’s hurting companies)

Walking The Tightrope of Language & Culture (and why it’s hurting companies)

Jason and Eiso get real about censorship culture in the tech industry. From free speech to the rights of employees and the role of companies in society. They chat about privilege in tech, whether we need democracy within tech companies, the role of culture stewards, and more.

💬 A few of our favorite moments from the chat

I go back to what I care about deeply, which is building companies and building value and creating things in the world. And no one ever really gets into that game to start having certain types of conversations.

We need a distinct between society and inside companies. A company is not here to fulfil a certain set of things for you or for society at large. A company is not supposed to be doing or fulfilling some personal elements of your own being, and definitely, not for society. It is a specific vehicle for certain things.

Words have far more consequences inside a company today than they've ever had. And for certain topics and areas, that's a very good thing. But the fact that you can sit in a room with incredibly well-intentioned people and the discussion is no longer flowing, because everyone is extremely careful of how they say and what they say, that to me is worrisome. At that point, you're losing what makes great collaboration between human beings.

Let's stop having the same stupid conversation and realize that we're all working in probably the most privileged industry on the planet, with the most privileged of conditions in the history of the world. And somehow we're making it a woe-it's-me moment.

If anyone in the world discounts Elon entirely because they don't like his management style, you are the person we're talking to in this podcast. Elon has done some amazing things in the world with other people and through other people, and yes, he's got a certain approach. But there are things in what he has done, which are undeniably amazing. And I also disagree with some of the ways in which he's done it, but they both can be true.

💡 Topic Explainers

👾 Palantir Company Culture

The data analytics company has faced controversy over its culture and practices. Some employees and critics claim it's cutthroat and values conformity over individuality. Others criticize its work with government agencies like ICE.

However, Palantir argues its software helps prevent terrorist attacks and crime, which is why the guys use this as an example of company culture the industry frowns upon, but should look into more.

💡 Elon Musk Quote

Eiso has this Elon Musk Quote on his desk:

“There are a lot of terrible things happening all over the world, all of the time, there are lots of problems that need to get solved. Lots of things that are miserable and kind of get you down. But life cannot just be about solving one miserable thing after another, that can’t be the only thing. They need to be things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity. That’s why we did this.”


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Developing Leadership
Developing Leadership
Follow Jason Warner (MD at Redpoint Ventures and former CTO of GitHub) and Eiso Kant (Founder and CEO of Athenian) as they chat about the biggest lessons they’ve learned about Engineering Leadership throughout the years.