CNBC asked billionaire dotcom entrepreneur Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and author of his own blog, to comment on the revelation that Whole Foods CEO John Mackay had anonymously posted comments about his company and its arch-rival on a Yahoo message board. This is how he responded:
I haven't read a ton, just a few articles on the subject. But I can tell you that I feel bad for Mackey. When you eat, sleep and breathe a company, it's hard to disconnect from all the emotions involved. When I was President of Broadcast.com (in pre-FD 1998,9), I used to post as myself on Yahoo message boards all the time. Why? Because it was a great outlet to discuss the company. Some guys want to argue Bonds vs. Aaron, but it's more fun for an entrepreneur to discuss WFMI vs. the critics.
Unfortunately for Mackey, there isn't that opportunity anymore. I don't know all the regulations these days, but as the CEO he should have found a better way to release that energy.
It's a blunder in respect to the grief he is going to have to deal with, and the impact it could have on the acquisition. But for shareholders, it's an indication that Mackey lives his company and it's not just a job for him. This is just part of the downside of someone so passionate and in love with his company.
I call it digital narcissism.