Owen WilliamsFormer TNW employee
Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.
Yesterday, reports of Snapchat’s secret product acquisitions appeared after a new Sony leak included emails between executives from both companies.
Evan Spiegel today made a heart-wrenching memo that was sent to staff and partners public, saying that he “felt like he was going to cry all morning” after the news leaked.
Spiegel says “I am so sorry that our work has been violated and exposed” and that “it’s not fair that the people try to build us up and break us down get a glimpse of who we really are.”
While Spiegel is right to feel violated by the leaks, it’s hard to side with him on this. Spiegel is the very same person who allegedly leaked the $3 billion Snapchat deal, with Mark Zuckerberg reportedly blaming him for leaking it to the press. It’s not quite the same thing — leaking emails
The statement reads like Spiegel believes Snapchat is up against the world and that the media is basically a high-school bully. He writes like the world is picking on Snapchat, despite the company’s resounding success in the last 12 months. The media loves Snapchat, as far as I can tell.
Obviously, he believes that companies should be allowed to operate in utter secrecy so they’re able to control the story when it’s time to finally set the stage for the release of a product, but that’s not how the press actually works in many cases. They get wind of a story and they run it.
Snapchat can’t control the press. It can’t control how a story is told, outside of PR spin. Email isn’t secure. Snapchat isn’t secure. Secrets get leaked.
When there’s a story, it’s written about, regardless of the agenda of the company in question. But Spiegel obviously doesn’t see it that way and is throwing his toys.
I agree that it isn’t fair that Snapchat got caught up in Sony’s leak, however, it’s naïve to assume making business deals over emails outside of your control is secure. I feel for Spiegel and the Snapchat team; their hard work has been exposed, but it’s no reason to assume it’s been spoilt at all.
Here’s Evan’s full letter, shared on Twitter today:
I’ve been feeling a lot of things since our business plans were made public last night. Definitely angry. Definitely devastated.
I felt like I was going to cry all morning, so I went on a walk and thought through a couple of things. I even ran into one of my high school design teachers. She gave me a huge hug. I really needed it.
And I really need to tell you that I’m so proud of all of you. I want to give you all a huge hug because keeping secrets is exhausting.
Keeping secrets means coming home late, after working all day and night. Curling up with your loved ones, hanging out with your friends, and not being able to share all of the incredible things you’re working on. It’s painful. It’s tirng.
Secrets also bring us together.
We keep secrets because we love surprising people. We keep secrets because it’s the best way to keep showing the world that growth is not only possible, it’s necessary. We keep secrets because it’s the right thing to do, not because it’s the easy thing to do.
We keep secrets because we get to do our work free from judgement — until we’re ready to share it. We keep secrets because keeping secrets gives you space to change your mind until you’re really sure that you’re right.
We care about taking the time to get things right. Secrets help us do that.
Secrets keep the space between our community and the public- space we need to feel safe in our expression and creativity.
I am so sorry that our work has been violated and exposed.
A couple of people have asked me what we’re going to do.
First we’re going to be really mad and angry and upset. And that’s OK.
It’s not fair that the people who try and build us up and break us down get a glimpse of who we really are. It’s not fair that people get to take away all the hard work we’ve done to surprise our community, family and friends.
It’s not okay that people steal our secrets and make public that which we desire to remain private.
When we’re done being mad and angry and upset we’re going to keep doing exactly what we are doing. And then we’re going to do it ten times better.
We are going to change the world because this is not the one we want to live in.
December 17, 2014
➤ Evan Spiegel [Twitter]
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