Saying "I'm Sorry"

I am sure a number of you have read the New York Times article about women in tech and their experiences of sexual harassment in the industry.  The article named a number of men in tech and gave specific examples of inappropriate and harassing behavior.  Tech titans named in the article include Chris Sacca, Dave McClure, Justin Caldbeck, Marc Canter, and others. The NYT article was published on 30 June. On 1 July, Dave McClure, the founder of the business accelerator 500 Startups wrote an apology:  I’m a Creep. I’m Sorry.

In his apology, McClure:

  • Admitted and came clean about his actions.  He didn’t sugarcoat it.
  • Took full responsibility.  He didn’t blame others, systems, or policies.
  • Admitted he was defensive and apologised for not being accountable for his behaviour when first approached about his inappropriate conduct.
  • Had a moment of real self-awareness and rather than ignore it, he owned it.
  • Is taking active steps to improve his behaviour.

It is difficult to admit we are wrong, it is even harder to not defend our actions and choices, and the toughest of all is doing the work to improve ourselves.

A pretty heavy message, but a powerful one. When it is time to say “I’m sorry” are you really making a sincere apology?