Silicon Valley CEOs and successful startup founders are often elevated to lofty proportions. Think Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, and Mark Zuckerberg–all have reached celebrity status.
With celebrity, comes notoriety. Jobs’ arrogant behavior and tendency to belittle others is well documented in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs. He once told a hardware designer at Xerox, “Everything you’ve ever done in your life is shit…”
Of course, he was Steve Jobs and often got a pass on downright nasty behavior because he was so incredible at leading Apple. In fact, many successful tech leaders get passes on obnoxiousness and sometimes are even rewarded for it:
1. Evan Speigel:
The co-founder and CEO of Snapchat is praised for launching the immensely popular messaging platform, as well as for his boyish good looks, which has landed him dates with supermodels. He’s also been taken to task for a series of juvenile, sexist, and homophobic emails written during his not-so-long-ago fraternity days.
In one unfortunate email, he invited frat brothers to a President’s Day party, celebrating “the legacy of our two-timing forefathers.” In the message, he made mention of Sally Hemmings, the slave and mistress of Thomas Jefferson, writing, “Get some, Jefferson!”
He also wrote a series of crude emails about sexual acts, shooting “lasers at fat girls,” and criticized a rival fraternity for “being gay.”