Thursday, February 11, 2010

Free Speech: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

Today, I resigned from an advisory board position.

The CEO of the startup in question, a man whom I like and respect, told me that if I did not delete this blog post, that he would ask for my resignation.

His opinion was that by not deleting some of the comments (written by others, not by me) that others might find offensive, I was supporting hate speech.

I am a big believer in freedom in general, and free speech in particular.

Until now, this belief did not have any financial impact.

While I would prefer to retain my stock options in the company in question, I would far rather retain my principles.

I support free speech, not as a matter of convenience, but as a matter of principle. And I am prepared to pay the price of standing up for that principle.

To other entrepreneurs who might seek out my advice (many of whom read this blog):

I support your dreams.

I want to help you achieve your goals.

I will do what I can to make your company a success.

But I will never censor myself or anyone else.

If you don't believe in this principle, you should look elsewhere for your advice.