Robett Hollis says, in a post about the Manaaki / We are Indigo situation:
“I genuinely feel honored to be in a position where Founders, many whom I have never met before, have felt safe enough to approach me directly to try and help…”
Said with feeling and belief. And it is indeed an “honor”, an honour to be trusted.
I too am in the honoured position of having been a safe and trusted place for many founders (as well as investors and others in the startup ecosystem) to come to, for advice, for support, for a listening ear.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve heard a lot of stories, lent a shoulder to a lot of tears, and hopefully done some good along the way. What I have learned over those years, what I have probably always known, is that there are two sides to every story. The same event can be perceived very differently by each of those involved.
This in no way minimises the feelings of those who feel bullied, damaged or marginalised by the the system, or by individuals in it. If you’re one of those people, I see you, I acknowledge that you feel the way you feel, and I urge you to talk to someone you trust about it.
Those who talk to me know that their information and their feelings are safe with me.
They know that, in the event of something being truly egregious (or appearing to reflect a genuine pattern of bad behaviour), I will take it up with the accused party, but only with permission. Understand all sides of the picture. That’s called natural justice.
They know that I will never drag their story into the public or social media space, unless we agree to do that together.
They also know that I will share my own experiences with them, with some tools and strategies I’ve learned over the past 60+ years, for dealing with arseholes (because they DO exist!).
So, in trawling through what’s ‘out there’ about the concerted campaign to bring down We Are Indigo, Manaaki and their founders, I’ve been reflecting on the behaviours of people who I genuinely believe should know better, and do better.
Am I alone in thinking that some of the reported behaviours of key players, amongst them the Callaghan Innovation Board and CEOs past and present (Vic Crone and Stefan Korn), are simply inexplicable and wrong in so many ways? Or is this the way we do business these days?
I’m really wondering whether I’m actually the strange one, because here is just a small list of some of the things that these ‘founder-supporting’ players in this sad saga appear (based on OIA releases) to have done, that I would never do.
- I would never publicly accuse people of things they didn’t do, and I definitely won’t dig up someone’s 20+ year past to support a claim of dodgy behaviour.
- I won’t leak confidential reports to the media (or anyone else), no matter how “important” I think the story is.
- I won’t ring up my mates in high places, and encourage them to blackball people and organisations involved, without any right of reply.
- If I’m one of those mates in high places, I won’t engage investigators recommended by my mates (at least not without declaring a serious conflict of interest).
- I certainly won’t instruct said investigator that they are NOT to talk to the accused party.
- And when I feel the need to engage one of the large accounting firms to review the process of the investigation, I certainly won’t exclude from their scope the need to review the findings of the reports, and the claims that the investigator was conflicted.
What are these people thinking? Or, one has to ask, were they thinking at all?
Where is the genuinely independent review of the allegations made, and where is the plan for Callaghan Innovation to act decisively to bring resolution for all parties? You started this. You can end it.
Or are these behaviours actually okay, because the end justifies the means, and we must protect vulnerable founders at all costs, even at the cost of destroying the reputations of good people along the way? A genuine question.
I know where I stand. I stand for natural justice, and in this particular saga, I #StandWithManaaki.