Silicon Valley: You have to shoot off your mouth?

Friday, 16 Aug 2013 | 2:01 PM ET
Nick Tzolov | E+ | Getty Images

This has been the week for tech executives behaving badly: a public firing, an anti-San Francisco rant and a flame-mail venue spat gone public.

Case No. 1: You're fired. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong publicly fires his creative director. It happened early in the week, so it's already old news. But if you didn't hear about it, here's a recap. Armstrong ended up apologizing for the episode but didn't unfire the guy. No point, really, since AOL announced layoffs at the involved unit, Patch.com, by the end of the week.

Case No. 2: I hate San Francisco. The co-founder of a start-up who recently moved to the land of the Golden Gate apparently spewed a little venom about the place on his blog. He ragged on the public transportation system, the weather, bicyclists and the homeless, among other things. (Some of the lines were actually pretty funny, albeit politically incorrect and laced with profanity.)

The tirade caught the attention of a local blogger, who called out the post and totally wailed on the gentleman.

Signs are now popping up around San Francisco asking the executive to leave town.

Case No. 3: Do you know who I am? This episode apparently happened last year but only recently came to light, thanks to emails obtained by ValleyWag.

An influential blog for Silicon Valley held a conference last year at a venue owned and operated by an L.A. outfit. The two subsequently seemed to get into a dispute over branding displays, sneaking people into the event and calling a business partner "honey." Threats were apparently made.

ValleyWag's takedown of the flame-mail exchange is hilarious, if pointed. There seems to be some bad behavior on both sides.

Update...Case No. 4: in your hedgerow ...

This added episode was brought to our attention. Check out the Bustle brouhaha ...

Sorry ... but you're still fired
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has apologized after publicly firing an employee. Edward Freeman, a professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, weighs in.

Yes, quite a week for the techies. Seems like some folks need to work on their impulse control. Then again, the tech world is about immediate gratification, so maybe shooting off your mouth, or your blog post or your email, comes with the territory.

This would have been by CNBC's Cadie Thompson, who you can follow at @CadieThompson, but she's on vacation. So managing editor Allen Wastler filled in for this one, and you can follow him at @AWastler.


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  • Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.

  • Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.

  • Jon Fortt is an on-air editor. He covers the companies, start-ups, and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.

  • Lipton is CNBC's technology correspondent, working from CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau.

  • Mark is CNBC's Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bureau Chief covering technology and digital media.