Being Snarky With the CEO is Bad for Business…And That Fledging Enterprise You Call a Career…

Kris Dunn Kris Dunn

I'm Gen X, which means I'm…ahem…maturing…

One of the things I've learned?  Email wars don't really benefit anyone.  I know, I know, you're right about your issue.  No one cares, especially if you start heaving email barbs around Outlooksphere.  Especially if you try to call out those who outrank you, even with a veiled barb.

Case in point, this direct report of Marc Andreessen, who thought he had the high ground, as reported inMarc_andreessen_03 Fortune:

"Ben Horowitz was toiling as an unheralded product strategist at Netscape Communications when he opened a scathing e-mail from his boss, Marc Andreessen. It was the winter of 1996; Netscape's public offering, several months earlier, had ignited the dotcom craze, and co-founder Andreessen had just appeared on Time's cover, sitting on a throne, feet bare — the very portrait of a cocky 24-year-old tech wunderkind.

But Horowitz was irked to learn that Andreessen had leaked news to a trade publication about an upcoming software release Horowitz's team had been working on. So Horowitz sent the Netscape co-founder a note that simply said, "I guess we're not going to wait until March 7" — the date of the planned announcement.

The blast back from Andreessen: "We are getting killed killed killed by Microsoft! You're destroying the value of the company and it's 100% server product management's fault. I'm just trying to help. Next time, do the f***ing interview yourself. F*** you. Marc."

Hello… Questions?  No one wins in email wars, except maybe those who have so much power they can tell you that without fear of reprisal.

Thinking about sending the email?  Don't.  Just Don't….