Finding the Right Level of Transparency in my Blog

Personal by on March 27, 2007 at 11:51 pm

I’m still trying to find the right level of transparency in my blog. As a consumer Internet company, many of the decisions that we make are instantly visible to the world. On the other hand, the decision-making process and our rationale is invisible. I’ve found it useful in the past to highlight some of the invisible thought and discussions that have gone into our visible decisions.

Decision-making in a startup requires open and honest participation, healthy dissent and spirited arguments. It also requires quick and honest acknowledgement of errors, but more importantly full support of final decisions. Time and resources are too tight for the team to spend time second-guessing each other or sowing dissent within (or outside) the organization.

I made an error recently and published a dissenting opinion on a visible decision. I should have kept the opinion and discussion internal. I had justified the post by telling myself that it wasn’t controversial because we ‘really’ all agreed on the views I expressed, but I realistically knew that we didn’t see eye-to-eye yet. It didn’t take long to realize that I had made a mistake and I pulled the post down. My post created internal stress, strained relationships and made the jobs of my teammates harder. All of this was unnecessary and a temporary drag on our effectiveness.

Live and learn.


  1. Brad Feld — March 28, 2007 @ 4:53 am

    Dave – welcome to the world of blogging! You’ve got to step in some shit occasionally to figure out where your personal edge is.

  2. mathew — March 28, 2007 @ 10:18 am

    good points, good points, and good points – my blog might be funny, but yours is actually good.

  3. davenaff — March 28, 2007 @ 9:24 pm

    Brad, spoken like a true grizzled veteran – thanks.

  4. T.L. — April 2, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

    As a frequent reader of your blog and always enjoy your analysis, so I find this surprising. I had read the post in question and it seemed like you described things in a honest straightforward fashion. It’s hard for me to see why this would cause so many problems if you are just stating your perspective, which I assume everyone inside your company knew already.

    I wonder if leeway comes with the correct level? :) I also read your CEOs blog and noticed that he recently called out two employees – by job title – who wanted to become managers. Perhaps it was widely known who they were before the post, but I could see that causing more strife and rumor. I assume there is only one ad sales manager, so your CEO is basicly saying one of the sales people thought that guy wasn’t doing a good job. And for both, he’s saying publicly he doesn’t seem them as mgmt material.

    I’m guessing he asked them both their permission before posting his comments, and maybe that’s the lesson here. If you want to post about internal discussions, run it by those involved beforehand. How decisions are made definitely makes for more interesting blog reading!

  5. davenaff — April 2, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

    TL, you’re totally right. The key component is asking for permission first on internal issues. Andy does a good job of running his posts by others in the office before putting them up. In this case, I didn’t do the same – part of the problem of posting over the weekend.

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