Tech CEOs Address Staff After Election Results

The recent U.S. election has left the world in awe. Here are 3 letters from top tech companies to their employees regarding the after-effect.
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Published: Friday, November 11th 2016
General
Leading up to the the 2016 US Presidential elections there was an overwhelming sense of desperation and need for anyone other than Donald Trump to win. That, unfortunately, was not the case. Stunning people across the planet, the unlikely candidate, with overwhelmingly bigoted beliefs and opinions, has won the elections. Donald Trump is now President-elect of the United States of America.

The Affect Of Tech On The Election

Many news sites are reporting that social media sites (i.e.: Twitter and Facebook) have played a large role in Trump's unexpected win. Bloomberg has published an article criticising Facebook for its proliferation of fake news. They say this could have impacted the elections. And, they are not the only media outlet to issue such statements. Facebook is coming under heavy fire from multiple sources. These are stating that, as the most widely used news source (reaching almost two billion people), Facebook had a responsibility to ensure that news surrounding the elections were accurate and real. Unfortunately, Facebook has always had a problem with the proliferation of fake news. During these elections, however, false stories claiming that the Clinton family had committed murder and Huma Abedin being a terrorist spread like wildfire. This despite being refuted by reputable news organisations. According to Ed Wasserman, the dean of the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, these stories helped shape public opinion. 
“This is a landmark,” he said. “Trump was able to get his message out in a way that was vastly influential without undergoing the usual kinds of quality checks that we associate with reaching mass public. You had a whole set of media having influence without really having authority. And the media that spoke with authority, the authority that comes after careful fact checking, didn’t really have the influence.”

A Facebook spokeswoman responded to the claims by saying: “While Facebook played a part in this election, it was just one of many ways people received their information. It was one of the many ways people connected with their leaders, engaged in the political process, and shared their views.”

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has not publicly commented on this issue. He has, however, posted a Facebook status update stating "We are all blessed to have the ability to make the world better, and we have the responsibility to do it. Let's go work even harder".

The Affect Of Trump On Tech

This is a far more hopeful and neutral statement than those issued by other tech CEOs who are attempting to reassure their staff.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, sent the following email to his team:

Team, I spent much of yesterday talking with employees and leaders throughout LinkedIn about the U.S. election results and what it means to them personally and for us as a company. I wanted to briefly share what I heard and the implications for us going forward. As might be expected from this long and sometimes brutal election cycle, the emotional responses people expressed ran from shock and sadness to grief and mourning; some telling stories of celebratory outreach from colleagues; and yet others feeling nothing at all. I heard women driven to tears of frustration over the fact that a highly qualified woman was passed over once again for a leadership role, and saw men choke up as they recounted their stories; was told of how a highly talented and deserving co-worker, here from another country on an H1-B visa, was filled with dread over whether he and his family will have the opportunity to remain in the U.S.; and saw tears of joy from a mother recounting how her young son stood up in class, boasting how proud he was that his mom had voted. The last eighteen months sharply divided the country. We saw far too many attacks on people vs. problems, and overzealous passion for candidates displacing compassion for one another. The polarization and open hostility was sustained for so long that people with opposing views became more caricature than actual human beings. Let's make sure to provide one another the time to process everything that's just transpired. As leaders and achievers, many of us have a natural tendency to solve other people's problems as soon as we hear them. However, we need to be sensitive to the fact that some members of the team don't need or even want immediate resolution. They don't want to hear rationalizations or participate in endless debates about why this unfolded the way that it did. They may just want someone to listen. Others are ready to engage; to share their fears and anger, their hopes and dreams. It's imperative to the healing process that we create a space where every individual at the company can feel safe when doing so; that everyone feels heard; and above all else, that every single employee of LinkedIn feels as if they truly belong here. This dynamic must transcend race, religion, gender, creed, and country of origin. While we have always aspired to make this the case, it will be more important than ever given the misogynistic, racist, and xenophobic language heard at times throughout this election. That language and behavior has not and never will have a place at LinkedIn and we will continue to do everything within our power to create a safe and productive work environment for all of our employees. Beyond the healing, all of us should be prepared to channel this energy into action. Though human nature will dictate that we try and find one unifying theory for everything that transpired, the truth is that this outcome was the byproduct of multiple dynamics. Most relevant to the work we do at LinkedIn: The growing sense of disenfranchisement among tens of millions of Americans. We've said for years that the realization of our vision - to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce - has never been more important. That when people no longer have access to opportunity, when they don't feel heard, society is at risk. Whether through the growing skills gap, widening socioeconomic stratification, the increasing displacement of jobs by new technologies, or rising youth-based unemployment, there are a growing number of people in the U.S., and around the world, that no longer feel as if they have a chance to make a better life for themselves and their families. It's one thing to talk about this as part of a corporate narrative; it's quite another to watch it unfold. That's where LinkedIn can make a meaningful difference. By developing the world's first economic graph, our newly launched learning and development tools, LinkedIn Cities, LinkedIn Placements, and many other similarly themed products, we can increasingly extend the power of our platform to help those middle-skill workers, beyond the core of our professional membership, gain better control over their economic destiny. This work matters more than ever before. As the election results were coming in, and it became increasingly obvious that Trump was likely to be our next President, my daughter asked what was going to happen next. I told her that no matter who was President of this country, her mom and I would always take care of her, that she would be raised with the same values we've always had, that we are fortunate to live in a country that enables every citizen not only the right to vote but to openly disagree with the views of the candidates and, that despite those disagreements, once we have elected a new President, recognize we're all in this together. I'm not certain what a Trump administration will mean for the country. If Brexit and this process have taught me anything, it's how unpredictable seemingly predictable outcomes have become. What I am certain about is my value system, both as an individual and member of our team. I will continue to treat others, regardless of who they voted for, in a way that's consistent with those values. I hope the same holds for everyone at our company - that no matter what our political leanings, our race, religion, gender, creed, or country of origin, we treat each other with respect, with compassion, and above all else, we take care of one another. No election should ever change that. Jeff

Box

Box CEO, Aaron Levie had the following to say to his staff:

Hey Boxers,

I wanted to briefly share a few thoughts on the U.S. election result and process (as if you needed more on the topic right now).

Our company has been built on the principle of bringing people toegther from all walks of life to do amazing work by creating an environment where we trust each other, work collaboratively, and have a deep respect for one another.

It’s not always apparent day-to-day to all of us, but many groups have been through an emotional roller coaster of toxic rhetoric and behaviors throughout this campaign; it’s been taxing, stressful, and more. For many, the fear and concerns as a result of this election won’t go away quickly or easily. Much of the work that President Obama and other leaders have pushed through on critically important social issues over the past few years has been challenged throughout this campaign cycle. This is scary.

I’m hopeful that over the coming weeks and months we’ll start to see a very different style from the President-elect. Some of the ideas that were proposed in this campaign cycle would be disastrous if put into action, and I’m confident they will not come to pass.

At Box, we are strongly committed to our values of openness and inclusion and will do everything to fight for these principles going forward. We’ll continue to build an insanely strong culture that reflects our diversity as an organization, and create an environment where everyone can thrive and be successful. Importantly, it takes each and every Boxer to help make sure this happens.

Rest assured that in this upcoming administration, we’ll be a major advocate for all issues that affect our employees and our values as a company (LGBTQ rights, fair immigration policies, racial and gender equality, etc.), as well as continue to drive toward a stronger partnership with the government on important topics for driving an innovation economy (cyber-security, STEM education, modernizing regulation, etc.).

This election cycle has illuminated many important issues that our country must start to confront and we’ll have to find ways to productively engage on these topics, as a nation. We have a lot of work to do now, but I’m still very optimistic for America’s future.

Onward and upward.

Aaron

Apple

While Apple CEO, Tim Cook sent out the following memo to his staff:

Team, I’ve heard from many of you today about the presidential election. In a political contest where the candidates were so different and each received a similar number of popular votes, it’s inevitable that the aftermath leaves many of you with strong feelings. We have a very diverse team of employees, including supporters of each of the candidates. Regardless of which candidate each of us supported as individuals, the only way to move forward is to move forward together. I recall something Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said 50 years ago: “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward”. This advice is timeless, and a reminder that we only do great work and improve the world by moving forward. While there is discussion today about uncertainties ahead, you can be confident that Apple’s North Star hasn’t changed. Our products connect people everywhere, and they provide the tools for our customers to do great things to improve their lives and the world at large. Our company is open to all, and we celebrate the diversity of our team here in the United States and around the world - regardless of what they look like, where they come from, how they worship, or who they love. I’ve always looked at Apple as one big family, and I encourage you to reach out to your co-workers if they are feeling anxious. Let’s move forward - together! Best, Tim