“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
This is the advice I give to people whenever they ask for it. It’s aspirational, which means it is a lot easier said than done. As I write this post, I’m reminded even more of it.
In recent months, we found out that my co-founder Dave McClure had inappropriate interactions with women in the tech community. His behavior was unacceptable and not reflective of 500’s culture and values. I sincerely apologize for the choices he made and the pain and stress they’ve caused people. But apologies aren’t enough without meaningful actions and change.
Because of this, we made the decision a few months ago to change the leadership structure at 500. I took on the role of CEO, which involves directing the Management Team and overall day-to-day operations of 500.
Dave’s role has been limited to fulfilling his obligations to our investors as a General Partner. In addition, he’s been attending counseling to work on changing his perspectives and preventing his previous unacceptable behavior.
The actions we took weren’t easy, but it was critical to us that we uphold our culture and values – even if it meant asking my co-founder to step aside in order for 500 to grow stronger.
That said, I’ll echo what many are already saying. As much as we want to be part of the solution, we clearly have also been part of the problem. Undoubtedly there are ways I could have done more or acted sooner.
The change I want to see is a startup environment where everyone, regardless of gender and background feels welcome and safe. Where sexual harassment or discrimination will not impede great talent from producing great impact.
How do we make this change happen? How can we be that change we want to see?
It starts with me, and the work 500 started on and will continue to do. I am far from perfect, and 500 is far from perfect. But 500 is much more than one person, and we will continue building on our momentum of change. We have a lot of work to do.