It's election season, so we thought that for today's Insights and Opinions section, we thought we'd share the advice of John Greathouse, of Rincon Venture Partners, with his piece, Shutup and Sell: Entrepreneurs Shouldn't Discuss Religion, Politics Or Sex(ual Orientation).
In 2003, the lead singer of the country music group, The Dixie Chicks, criticized then-current President George Bush during a concert in London. The reaction among the group's American fans, who were largely politically conservative, was visceral and negative. One irate fan sent the group a death threat, which offered them "clemency" if they would, "shut up and sing." Business leaders should not need a death threat to encourage them to follow similar advice, substituting "sell" for "sing."
A startup leader's primary responsibility is to maximize the return to its stakeholders, which include the company's global and local neighbors, employees, suppliers, customers and investors. When a corporate leader makes a public statement that increases the friction involved in satisfying their company's value proposition, the executive is betraying each of these constituents. Be boring in public. If you want to be an opinionated blowhard in private, go for it. (More...)
Read the rest of John's advice here at Shutup and Sell.