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Forward to a friend

By David Holmes

 

Last month, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong made some shockingly insensitive comments blaming AOL's benefit cuts on a pair of "distressed babies" belonging to two of his employees that he says cost the company $2 million in health care expenses.

Armstrong apologized for the comments, as he should: Blaming a company's woes on a pair of infants is both deeply hurtful to the families involved and totally lacking in compassion for all his employees.

But some might say, "Hey, isn't this just business-as-usual at big companies?"

No. Just look at Netscape's Ben Horowitz, whose book Sarah Lacy reviewed here.

In it, he tells the story of how an employee coming over from a merger during his Opsware days chose to leave the company shortly before discovering he had brain cancer. It would cost Opsware $200,000 to keep the employee on the payroll. Keep in mind, Opsware was far from financially stable.

But that didn't matter to Horowitz. He paid it. As Sarah Lacy writes, "Karma. Humanity. Leadership. There are plenty of different interpretations of this. Maybe some of you even see it as weakness. But it’s a big reason the same people who worked for Horowitz at Opsware still work for him."

For more from Horowitz, check out our PandoMonthly event where he sat down for a fireside chat with Lacy.

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