Men with Power


The charges are the latest twist in a career in which Mr. Assange has morphed from a crusader for radical transparency to fugitive from a Swedish sexual assault investigation, to tool of Russia’s election interference, to criminal defendant in the United States.

via NYTimes

I don’t have any super-strong reactions to Julian Assange and his work via WikiLeaks and his most recent indictment that includes 17 counts of espionage, but, my wife and I were talking last night about the #metoo movement and how some men with power will eventually (inevitably?) use their power to harm others.

And how interesting it is to see how it’s also never just about sex but there are usually other abuses of power that might be just as hidden, beneath the surface, and ready to be exposed (as it should be… and quickly!).

It’s sad to see men who have spent a good deal of their lives being useful and beneficial to society, at least publicly, but privately have lives that are not to be emulated nor applauded – they have secrets, harmful ones, dangerous.

I am a “man with power” – I run a small, venture-backed startup out here in the center of the technological world. I personally have an outsized role in my company and I’m working hard to remove the base of power out of my own hands and into ones that are far more capable than I.

I don’t look at folks like Julian Assange (or anyone else, for that matter) and judge them for their decisions because I know that I’m far closer to making the exact same decisions than I ever dare imagine, but, I do think about the “guardrails” and systems that men in power have (or lack thereof) that starts the ball rolling in the wrong direction.

I think it really begins with opening up the lines of communication with folks that have access to these men and who have platforms in their lives. I think that means taking this conversation to my own team and opening it up as a topic that I want to talk about instead of willfully ignoring it or dismissing it entirely.

Men with power need to use their power in ways that empower others, bring light to where the darkness is (e.g. bring the secrets out in the open, be more transparent and communicative about these types of topics), and be more candid and truthful with how we exercise our authority, power, and position.

If we’re going to create systemic change, then, we must individually decide to model it in our own communities, teams, and organizations. It’ll take a long time, but, it’s worth the effort.

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