But the Dark Side has a price, and I hope that Brad recovers his composure enough to understand this.
Ah, let me be clear: I wasn't angry when I told that user to kiss my ass.
This issue comes up occasionally and I've posted about it before. Here's one from last year:
To quote it:
About once a month someone, somewhere, will comment on something I've written saying how "A CEO shouldn't act so unprofessionally in public". Over the years, I've gotten that message hundreds of times along with predictions of demise for my company due to my "public" behavior.
Obviously, the company's continued survival tends to imply that the fact that I look at customer / developer relationships as a partnership of equals rather than one of master / slave as some "customers" online seem to think is not too damaging.
And even if it were damaging, I would still do what I do no matter what. That is my primary motivation for having a company: To do what I want.
My personal and professional objectives have always been the same: I want to do what I want to do.
That is my top priority. Freedom.
Freedom has consequences. I am certain, beyond a doubt, that my public postings on various topics over the years has alienated some percentage of users who have encountered what I written to the point that they have decided to not purchase products and services from my company. I'm okay with it. It's a price I'm willing to pay to be able to do what I want.
Now, users on our sites who read my posts know how I "treat" people. It's not that I treat people badly. I simply don't subscribe to the belief that because someone buys a product that they get a license to behave terribly. I particularly have little patience for people whose idea of "free speech" is to flame some person, product, or company and then be taken aback when that person or representative of that product or company defends themselves.
Stardock isn't a public company. It's not investor run. It doesn't even have investors. It's my company. It's a company with around 50 people these days that I can proudly say has virtually no voluntary turn over. How many other software or game companies of that size can make that claim? And the reason for that is that my public attitude is my private attitude too -- we're going to do what we want to do. Not just me but the people there too.
Sure, there's a cost to doing what you want to do. I have gotten plenty of ribbing that we're making a TURN-BASED fantasy strategy game instead of making it an RTS. But I want to make a turn-based fantasy strategy game. It won't sell as well as an RTS would but so what? What good is more money if you can't do what you want to do?
I'm 36. I've got a beautiful wife. 3 wonderful children. Plus I've got the toys. The Porsche 911 Turbo, the boat, the lake cottage, the big house, etc. And I get to work every day with people who I really like. Not just professionally but on a personal level. So I tend to think I'm probably doing something right. But more to the point, I'm way past the point where I have to do anything I don't want to do. So I'm not inclined to put up with crap.
Every day at Stardock is FUN. Even during crunch-time it's FUN. And why is it fun? Because every day we do what we want to do.
And part of doing what you want to do is being able to show some obnoxious customer the door or making clear that we don't want or need jerks using our stuff.
But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether I'm justified or not because I'm going to do what I want to do. And so far, it's worked out pretty well for both me, my family, my coworkers, and our customers.
To put it in a nutshell, I'm not inclined to put up with crap from some idiot on the net. The reason is that we don't have to. And so we won't.