Can you imagine how thin of a spine one must have to let an unsolicited email from an expense management software company executive persuade them on the upcoming election? I’d argue it’s a photo finish in the Pathetic Olympics with those actually moved by political lawn signs.
Better yet, can you imagine the willing ignorance of someone who’s yet to accept that there are exactly zero Americans still on the fence about who’s the right man for the job? Couple that with the gall of blasting out a mass email to 10 million people treating them like children with undeveloped frontal lobes like some drunk Captain America and you have Expensify CEO David Barrett.
Barrett shot off a long-winded email to Expensify’s 10 million users pleading with them to stand up to demoncracy and vote Trump out of office.
“I know you don’t want to hear this from me. But we are facing an unprecedented attack on the foundations of democracy itself,” the email begins. “If you are a U.S. citizen, anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy.”
Wow. Just received an extraordinary email from @expensify CEO @dbarrett. I can't remember ever seeing anything even remotely close to it. pic.twitter.com/lPCBMjQSh4
— Rick Klau (@rklau) October 22, 2020
Barrett then goes on to claim that business should not stay neutral when it comes to politics.
“As CEO of this business, it’s my job to plot a course through any storm—and all evidence suggests that another 4 (or as Trump has hinted—8, or more?) years of Trump leadership will damage our democracy to such an extent, I’m obligated on behalf of shareholders to take any action I can to avoid it. I am confident our democracy (and Expensify) can survive a Biden presidency. I can’t say the same about Trump. It’s truly as simple as that.”
“We have no idea how this gets resolved and it’s probably some kind of civil war,” he continues.
Before sending it we had a long discussion, designed to be as inclusive and respectful as possible. In particular, we made a #factcheck Slack room where anyone can contest a factual claim and argue for/against it, then a group of top employees votes on our official opinion.
— David Barrett (@dbarrett) October 23, 2020
Our entire company just received this email from Expensify. How dare you use our email addresses for your personal political action! Are you giving our contact information to Democratic organizations? pic.twitter.com/nx9gISrCoG
— Todd Sherman (@TTSherman) October 22, 2020
Great lesson in how to lose 50% of your business brought to you by @dbarrett from @expensify pic.twitter.com/Nne0HbX6Am
— Micah Jones (@lmnjones) October 23, 2020
Barrett has caught wind of all the backlash, but told Fast Company that this is a hill he’s willing to die on.
“I would say the impact on the business was not top of mind,” he says. “I guess ultimately you just have to do what’s right… We have an obligation as citizens to do what we can to defend democracy.”
I’m not sure the shareholders feel the same way.